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Jma/s of Wyoming 

Wyoming Stale Archives and Historical Department 

lis type of cannon, the 1.65" Hotchkiss Mountain Gun. was used in the Battles of Wounded 
lee. South Dakota, in 1890, and Bear Paw Mountain. Montana, in 1877. This example, serial 
number 34. manufactured in 1885. is now in the collections o\ the Wyoming State Museum. 

April J96S 









Member at Large 

Robert St. Clair Cheyenne 

Mrs. Wilmot McFadden Rock Springs 

Mrs. R. Dwight Wallace Evanston 

Miss Jennie Williams Sheridan 

Richard I. Frost, Chairman Cody 

Mrs. Virgil L. Thorpe Newcastle 

Mrs. Frank Mockler Lander 

Mrs. Dudley Hayden Jackson 
Attorney General James E. Barrett Cheyenne 



Neal E. Miller Director 

Walter B. Nordell Administrative Assistant 

Mrs. Katherine Halverson Chief, Historical Research and 

Publications Division 

Mrs. Julia A. Yelvington Chief, Archives and Records Division 

Kermit M. Edmonds Chief. Museum Division 


The Annals of Wyoming is published semi-annually in April and October 
and is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society. 
Copies of current issues may be purchased for $2.00 each. Available copies 
of earlier issues are also for sale. A price list may be obtained by writing to 
the Editor. 

Communications should be addressed to the Editor. The Editor does 
not assume responsibility for statements of fact or of opinion made by 

Copyright, 1968. by the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department 

Mwls of Wyoming 

Volume 40 

April, 1968 

Number 1 

Neal E. Miller 

Katherine Halverson 
A ssociate Editor 

Published biannually by the 



Official Publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society 


OFFICERS 1967-1968 

President, Adrian Reynolds Green River 

First Vice President, Curtiss Root Torrington 

Second Vice President, Mrs. Hattie Burnstad Worland 

Secretary-Treasurer, Miss Malrine Carley Cheyenne 

Executive Secretary, Neal E. Miller Cheyenne 

Past Presidents 

Frank L. Bowron, Casper 1953-1955 

William L. Marion, Lander 1955-1956 

Dr. DeWitt Dominick, Cody 1956-1957 

Dr. T. A. Larson, Laramie 1957-1958 

A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins 1958-1959 

Mrs. Thelma G. Condit, Buffalo 1959-1960 

E. A. Littleton, Gillette 1960-1961 

Edness Kimball Wilkins, Casper 1961-1962 

Charles Ritter, Cheyenne 1962-1963 

Neal E. Miller, Rawlins 1963-1965 

Mrs. Charles Hord, Casper 1965-1966 

Glenn Sweem, Sheridan 1966-1968 

The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953. 
Membership is open to anyone interested in history. County Historical 
Society Chapters have been organized in Albany, Big Horn, Campbell. 
Carbon, Fremont, Goshen, Johnson, Laramie, Natrona, Park, Platte, Sheri- 
dan, Sweetwater, Teton, Washakie, Weston and Uinta Counties. 

State Dues: 

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Send State membership dues to: 

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Zable of Contents 


A Traveler's Account Edited by T. A. Larson 


Robert L. Munkres 



Robert A. Murray 


David B. Griffiths 


1894-1943 73 

James D. McLaird 

Trek No. 18 of the Historical Trail Treks 
Compiled by Maurine Carley 


President's Message by Adrian Reynolds 

Minutes of the Fourteenth Annual Meeting, September 9-10. 1967 


Gressley. The American West: A Reorientation 139 

Hyde. A Life of George Bent. Written from His Letters 140 

Russell. Firearms, Traps & Tools of the Mountain Men 141 

Stands In Timber and Liberty, Cheyenne Memories 142 

Karolevitz. Doctors of the Old West 143 

Gage, The Johnson County War 145 

Smith. Rocky Mountain Mining Camps, The Urhan Frontier 146 

Flynn. Our Heritage 147 

Woodard, Diamonds in the Salt 148 

Hart. Pioneer Forts of the Old West 149 

Florin. Tales the Western Tombstones Tell 150 

Nasatir, Spanish War Vessels on the Mississippi, 1792-1796 151 

Reusswig, A Picture Report of the Custer Fight 153 



Hotchkiss Mountain Gun 
Following page 40 

Independence Rock 

Devil's Gate 

George Forman 

The Forman Family 
Following page 72 

U. S. S. Wyoming 

Promotional Folder for Cody, Wyoming 

George T. Beck 

1967 Trekkers 

Fort Washakie Indian Cemetery 

Past Presidents, Wyoming State Historical Society 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 

Across the Plains in J $64 
With Qeorge Jorman 

(a traveler's account, edited by T. A. Larson) 

George Forman (1830-1889) traveled from St. Louis to the Montana 
gold mines by way of South Pass in 1864 and left an account of his exper- 
iences which deserves publication for at least three reasons. (1) It is inter- 
esting and apparently authentic. (2) While there are extant hundreds of 
trail diaries and memoirs based on them, the year 1864 has been relatively 
neglected. 1 (3) Forman's account is of special interest in Wyoming because 
he was the grandfather of E. Luella Galliver, who served as Dean of Women 
at the University of Wyoming from J 926 to 1964. 

George Forman was the grandson of James Forman, a Loyalist in the 
American Revolution, who moved with British troops from New York City 
to New Brunswick, Canada in 1783. Soon after George was born in 1830 
in New Brunswick he moved with his parents to upper Ontario. He left 
school at 15 to work on a farm. Wanderlust seized him from time to time. 
In 1849, for example, he went west to work along the Mississippi River as a 
logger and boatman. He returned to Ontario only to join the gold rush to 
Australia in 1852. He fared better than most in the Australian gold fields, 
saving $2,500 before he returned to Ontario in October 1855. He married 
in the following February and settled down on a farm. 

Eight years later he once again went looking for gold, this time in Mon- 
tana and Idaho. Leaving his wife Ellen and two daughters with friends in 
Ontario, he traveled to St. Louis by rail via Detroit and Chicago, taking 
with him about $300 for expenses. Before striking out on the Oregon Trail 
he visited briefly in St. Louis with an older brother Gilbert (the Reverend 
J. G. Forman), who was employed by the U.S. Government as Secretary of 
the Western Sanitary Commission and Superintendent of Refugees and 

In 1 864 George Forman was a vigorously healthy man of 34. He de- 
scribed himself: "5 ft. 6V2 inches. Weight about 156. Heavy set and 
broad deep chest. Stout, but not corpulent." 

The George Forman narrative published below is only one part of a much 
longer narrative (402 pages in typescript) entitled ''Biographical Sketch of 
the Life and Ancestry of Geo. Forman of Stratford-Ontario-Canada." For- 
man wrote his "Sketch" in 1883, some 19 years after his trip along the 

1. Dale L. Morgan lists 139 diaries kept on the South Pass route for 1849 
alone in The Overland Diary of James Avery Pritchard from Kentucky to 
California in 1849 (Denver: The Old West Publishing Company, 1959), 
pp. 179-200. Two Oregon Trail memoirs derived from trips in 1864 are 
John S. Collins, Across the Plains in '64 (Omaha: National Printing Co., 
1904) and Anna Dell Clinkenbeard, Across the Plains in 64' (New York: 
Exposition Press, 1953). To be frank, neither amounts to much, although 
the Collins volume includes other, non-trail history which is of considerable 
interest. Unpublished diaries of 1864 include that of Hiram Alton in the 
W. R. Coe Collection at Yale University; that of Katherine Dunlap, a photo- 
copy of which is in the Bancroft Library, Berkeley, California; and that of 
James Knox Polk Miller, which is also in the Bancroft Library. 


Oregon Trail, which is our principal concern here. On the Trail he kept a 
diary. Whenever he could catch an eastbound mail carrier he would tear 
out the leaves he had already written on and send them back to his wife. 
Later, when writing his "Sketch" he used the diary leaves as source material. 
In describing his travels he apparently sometimes transcribed verbatim his 
1864 notes and at other times introduced later information and reflections, 
which explains occasional changes in tense. 

The St. Louis to Montana portion of George Forman's 1883 narrative is 
published below exactly as it appears in Dean Galliver's typescript copy. 
Unhappily the original 1864 diary leaves cannot be found for comparison 
with the 1883 memoir which is published here. Editorial additions are 
placed in square brackets or in footnotes. Aware that the Oregon Trail 
which Forman followed through Nebraska and Wyoming is familiar to most 
of the readers of the Annals, the editor as a rule has refrained from com- 
menting on the most famous forts and landmarks. 

The Martial Law in force in St. Louis prevented me from buying 
Arms there for my trip across the Plains, So 1 bought in Alton 
[Illinois] a Ballard Breech Loading rifle, carrying 800 yards, a 
beautiful light weapon, with cartridges, and a Revolver, and re- 
turned by Steamer to St. Louis. I got a free R. R. Pass to Macon, 
Mo. from Gilbert, received a letter from Ellen with Likenesses 
and wrote home to her. On May 31 after a week in St. Louis, went 
by the North Missouri R. R. to Macon and thence by Hannibal & 
St. Joseph R. R. to St. Joseph, Mo. and put up at the Waverly 
house. On the way passed two Block Houses built for protection 
from the Guerrillas who were troublesome in that part. In St. Joe 
every body talked of Idaho, and the city was full of parties and 
outfits preparing to leave across the Plains and Mountains some- 
thing like Independence in 1 849 in the California days. 

I looked around and priced teams and outfits, but finally decided 
in order to save money to accept an offer to go with a Oxen Freight 
train for Bannock Montana, as a "Bull Whacker" (ox driver) at 
$10 a month and found. 1 knew this would put me on my way out 
on the Plains & that I could there get a better chance. Before leav- 
ing I went down the River to Atchison from where the Overland 
Stages left and found the Stage fare to Virginia City, Montana was 
$300, too high for my means, and returned to St. Joe. 

Idaho then included Montana which was later in the year organ- 
ized as a separate Territory, but the term "Idaho" then referred to 
both Territories. 2 

June 2nd Finally engaged as a Bull Whacker with Mr. Mathias 
Ferris as before stated, and crossed the River to Wakena [Wathe- 
na, Kansas ] and five miles out to his camp where the Train was, 
consisting of ten wagons loaded with flour and whiskey. 3 yoke 
of Oxen to each wagon of 2 tons load. We had a war widow for 

2. Montana Territory was created May 26, 1864. First elections were 
held in October of that year. 


cook. One driver to each wagon. I was a good ox driver having 
drove oxen so much in Downie and Burford I in Ontario] in 
logging. On 3rd June we made ten miles over a high rolling prairie 
of the richest Soil to the village of Troy. The oxen were young 
and unbroken and we had rough times with them. At Kinnekuk 
[sic] next day struck the Atchison or Main Road where we meet 
many teams returning from Denver. The country is all unfenced 
and beautiful high rolling prairie of the very richest soil, and grass 
six inches high. Very few settlers. The next day was very hot 
and little water and one of my teams gave out. We camped at 
some Branch or creek every night. 

We were going too slow to suit me, and an Emigrant Train of 
three wagons one of them Mules passed us at camp and offered me 
a chance with him as driver to replace one had had left sick lately. 
He had nothing but his family and supplies and was making faster 

Next day en route when about 60 miles from St. Joe he returned 
by previous arrangement with his Mule team to my wagon which 
I left and got in his Mule team and drove off on a run, my old Boss 
threatening and protesting &c 

I now had easier work and better grub and fresh Milk every day, 
and made faster time. 

June 6th passed through the Kickapoo and Pottowattamie [sic] 
Indian Reservations. The Emigrant's name is John P. Peck a 
Virginian from Missouri, a former Slaveholder and strong Secesh 
[slang term for secessionist]. He has his wife and 4 young chil- 
dren with him in a light spring Democrat wagon with Mules, fitted 
up to sleep in, and two wagons with 1600 lbs loads, with 4 yoke 
of Oxen & cows to each wagon. Cows are yoked and made to 
work with Oxen. He has two former slaves with him, one Colored 
"Boy" aged 30, called Bob who drives the other team, and the 
other is "Aunt Fanny" who has been an old Slave in his family for 
generations and who nursed him when a child, and who is now our 
Cook. She is a good old body and scolds us all continually, and 
tells me all about her Mistress and wants her to understand, pri- 
vately to me though, that "Thank the Lord and Massa Linkum I 
am just as free as she am." Peck was seeking a new home in the 
Far West, as he had to leave his home in Saline County, Missouri, 
on account of the "Jay Hawkers" (Union) who had destroyed his 
property, and the Guerrillas (Secesh) who threatened his life. He 
was Secesh himself in sentiment but wanted to be neutral, but that 
was impossible in those days as both sides would then rob him. 

June 7th Passed through the fine thriving Village of Seneca, four 
miles north of Marys ville and 75 miles from St. Joe, through fine 
prairie Grass and wild flowers. For protection from Indians, half 
Breeds, and White Robbers we joined a freight train for some days, 
making about 20 miles a day. June 9th crossed the only running 


stream since leaving St. Joe 130 miles, the Big Blue and are now 
in Nebraska. 

Next day we left the freight and travel alone, meeting the over- 
land Stage everyday and every 14 miles is a Stage Station, but 
no letters. 

June 1 Oth Crossed Rock Creek. Plenty of Prairie fowl, prairie 
hens, Pigeons &c In Kansas the rock is limestone and soil heavy. 
In Nebraska here it is granite rock and light gravelly soil though 
rich. Timber all the way is very scarce, only cottonwood & walnut 
along the Streams. Some spaces of 20 miles without a tree or 

June 13th Struck the Little Blue, 200 miles from St. Joe & 70 
to Fort Kearney. Some Buffalo and we have Buffalo meat from 
some Hunters. Plenty of Antelope and we have venison also. 
Followed up the Little Blue valley for 20 miles and took a supply 
of wood as there is none over the hills 50 miles to Fort Kearney, 
and staid all day in camp to rest our teams. We join three other 
Emigrant trains, all Secesh from Missouri, leaving there to avoid 
the troubles of the war, and keep with them all through thereafter. 
We have seven women, some of them single. A Lawyer and a 
Doctor, who gave their property away, almost [sic] and left with 
their stock for the Far West. 3/4 of the Pilgrims crossing the 
Plains this & the next year are "Secesh" from Missouri flying from 
their war troubles there and taking all their herds and possessions 
are going to California & Oregon. We organize and choose a 
captain and corral our teams every night for protection, and take 
turns in herding our stock. We have a large herd of loose cattle, 
and the little girls are expert riders on horse & mule back driving 
the loose stock all day. June 16 made 26 miles, and 20 the next 
day over rich rolling prairie, and then over some Sand hills and had 
a fine view of the Platte River as far as the eye could see with its 
fringe of trees, and Fort Kearney in sight on our left 16 miles away. 
Passed through the Fort where our train was examined by the 
Soldiers for United States property such as stolen arms, mules &c 
A mile beyond is "Adobe Town" (Pronounced Dobey) from the 
houses being built of dried unburnt brick or blocks of clay called 
"Adobe", from which all the houses in Nebraska, the Mountains 
and Utah are built. 3 Most of them having mud or dried clay roofs. 
Very cool in summer and warm in winter. We camped at Dobe 
Town, or Kearney City its proper name, all day. It is the trading 
point for the Fort and the Emigrants. The weather is fine, sunny 
and hot, but pure dry and bracing. From here up the Platte are 
settlements or Ranches for stock Raising. Every house is called a 

3. As Forman himself recognizes later, several other building materials 
besides adobe were in use. 


"'Ranch"' and they are about 20 miles apart and have a store to 
trade with the Emigrants or "Pilgrims" they are here called, and 
raise Stock. There is a little cultivation, but on each side back of 
the River and Sandhills only fit for stock raising. The ground is 
too dry for much cultivation. 

The Platte is a shallow wide muddy stream 1 mile across with 
quicksand bottom and sluggish current, constantly changing its 
channel, and not navigable only for small boats, and has low banks, 
and often overflows them. In low water it is all sand bars and 
small rivulets. We had bathing in it every day, the Emigrant Road 
following it closely for hundreds of miles. There are the Plains, 
no timber now whatever, the only fuel being dried cattle dung or 
"Buffalo chips/' The air is so dry those chips are very hard and 
burn quite well. The Valley is fiat for hundreds of miles and low 
sand ranges on each side. 

We must cross the [South] Platte somewhere as our route is 
north of it up the North Platte, but the River is very high now and 
follow up its South Bank, the Denver Road, until we can find a 
crossing. The traffic is very large on this Road to and from Denver 
where gold and Silver have been mined several years, in the spring 
and early summer many have to go 400 miles up to within 50 miles 
of Denver before they can cross. Dead Buffalo carcasses are 
plenty along the Road where the Buffalo cross and are killed for 
mere wantoness. And Antelope are plenty and we have hunting 
and fresh venison every day. 

June 21st Passed Plum Creek Station [now Lexington] and I 
went ahead six miles beyond to Daniel Freeman's Ranch 40 miles 
from Fort Kearney. He was formerly from Fairfield Plains Bur- 
ford, and a partner of brother Cornelius in their Kansas trip with 
Buggies from Detroit, and I had two notes of his I wanted to col- 
lect. He was doing well buc much exposed to Indian depredations. 
I got $40 in trade (a New Buffalo Robe &c) and $10 cash for the 
$150 debt. 

The water is very Alkaline and unfit to drink, and we use the 
warm River water. Reports are current of Indian murders. A 
large Band of Cheyennes are South of us, and Sioux troublesome 
to the North. Ranches now every 10 miles. 

June 24. Passed Cottonwood Springs, a Military Post 4 and 
Parade Ground with 300 Soldiers, and we were searched again for 

4. Francis Paul Prucha, A Guide to the Military Posts of the United 
States, 1 789-1 895, offers the following summary: "A post was established 
on September 18, 1863, on the south side of the Platte River near present- 
day North Platte, Nebraska. The post was named Cantonment McKean on 
September 27, 1863, then successively renamed Post at Cottonwood Springs, 
Fort Cottonwood, and finally on February, 1866, Fort McPherson. The 
Post was abandoned in April, 1880." There is a national cemetery there 
now. The site is about 12 miles east of the citv of North Platte. 


U.S. property. The Bluffs are higher with high observatories to 
watch the Indians. 100 miles from Fort Kearney. 

We had very pleasant times travelling and camping, and pleasant 
company. I was particularly friendly with one family, Copelands, 
two brothers and a sister, a war widow, who washed for me, but 
we were going too slow for me and I packed up what I could carry, 
and left my carpet bag and winter clothing with the Copelands, 
expecting to see them again in the Mountains, and thought if the 
country was like this, I could walk to Idaho and pack my things, 
but at Jack Morrow's Ranch I found my pack too heavy, and tried 
to buy an Indian Pony to pack them on. I decided to wait for the 
Train again and buy a Pony further up where they are cheaper. 

This is the Junction of the Platte where the North Fork joins the 
South Fork; and we should cross here and follow up the North 
Platte, but the water is too high. Here I saw the first Wild Indians. 
Almost naked Sioux fully armed. At this place (Morrow's Ranch) 
is a high Scaffold on which dead Indians are laid to dry, instead of 
being buried, and covered with red cloths and a wicker frame 
work. In this dry air all over the Plains and Mountains flesh does 
not decay unless very bulky, but dries hard and imperishable for a 
long period, and all meat is cut and dried without salt as "Jerked 
meat" and will keep for years. We sawed all our venison in strips 
and dried | it] that way. 

The bodies are left here for years. I had seen the same in old 
days at the Indian Village of Red Wing in Minnesota in 1849. 

On my return down this Road in the next year the Indian scaf- 
fold & the dead had been removed, and this and the other Ranches 
and the whole valley devastated (including Freeman's) by the In- 
dians in their outbreak a few weeks after we passed there. There 
was not a single Ranch left. 5 

June 26th Rejoined the old train. Prairie Dog villages very 
common, and large number of Painted armed Sioux at every sta- 
tion. They pretend they are going to fight the Pawnees, but 
subsequent events showed they were preparing for war with the 
whites which came a few weeks afterwards. They are very treach- 

5. Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians attacked at many points along 
the trails in Nebraska and Colorado, particularly August 7-9, 1864, taking 
more than 50 lives. By that time Forman was out of harm's way in Star 
Valley in western Wyoming. For details of the Indian assaults on the trails 
in 1864-1865, see Leroy R. Hagerty, "Indian Raids Along the Platte and 
Little Blue Rivers, 1864-1865," Nebraska History, XXVIII (September and 
December, 1947), 176-186 and 239-260. See also Capt. Eugene F. Ware, 
The Indian War of 1864 (Topeka: Crane & Company, 1911), now issued 
in paperback by the University of Nebraska Press; George B. Grinnell, The 
Fighting Ch.eyen.nes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956); and 
George E. Hyde, Red Cloud's Folk (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1937). 


erous and pretend to be friendly wanting to shake hands and their 
invariable salutation to the whites is "How Hon" very quick and 
guttural, which is meant for friendship and "how do you do" They 
are finely mounted and splendid horsemen, and a robust finely 
built race, very courageous but treacherous, blood-thirsty and cruel. 
A sign of war was that their Squaws and papooses were not with 
them. All the White Ranchemen and white hunters have squaw 
wives who remain about the Ranches. 

At OTallon's Bluff 135 miles from Kearney is Williams Ranch 
where 1 bought a stout grey Indian Pony for $50 cash and my 
Ballard Rifle from an Irish Hunter named Camp who had a squaw 
wife and who talked Indian. 1 did wrong in parting with the Rifle 
as it was afterwards used against the Whites, but 1 did not believe 
those Indian Stories and Rumors and apprehended no danger, 
they seemed so friendly. 

But that year was the greatest Emigration that ever crossed the 
Plains. We were never out of sight of trains, some of them 3 
miles long, going to the Mountains and returning from Denver, and 
enveloped in clouds of dust. At night when we camped our faces 
and persons were black with dust. All the wagons were covered 
with canvas and lettered Some with "Soured on Bull Whacking*' 
"Bannack or Bust" All Idaho was called "Bannack" and most of 
them did "Bust" before they got there. 

Freight wagons were called "Prairie Schooners" and all the 
freight to and from the Mountains was hauled in that manner. 

The Indian Massacre at Sand Creek by the U.S. Troops at that 
time, where "Lean Bear" the Indian Chief, whose Photo I have, 
and a large number of Indians were treacherously killed had em- 
bittered the Indians who had unknown to us decided on war. 7 And 
we had barely got out of the Platte Valley before it commenced 
with terrible results that year and the next. 

I kept with my Pony with our Train some 20 miles further to the 
Omaha Ranch 150 miles from Kearney and 300 miles from 
Omaha, and within 50 miles of Julesburg, where some parties had 
started a Ferry the first one we had come to. The River was high 
and fully half a mile across and risky to cross, and our train would 
not venture over, the Ferry being too slight. 

So I left them with regret and never saw them again. 

I crossed the River here in a skiff, the Pony swimming and paid 

6. This statement is doubtful. Probablv more persons used the Platte 
route in 1850 (c. 55,000); in 1852 (c. 40,000); and in 1849 (c. 32,000). 

7. The Sand Creek Massacre of Cheyenne Indians in southeastern Colo- 
rado did not occur until November 29, 1864. It was carried out by Colo- 
rado militiamen, the Third Colorado Cavalry and part of the First, led by 
Colonel J. M. Chivington. 


$2.50 for it, and camped on the north side of the River with some 
English Mormons from Salt Lake. 

Next day I went along the River 20 miles to the Old California 
Crossing or opposite one of Beauvais' Ranches 26 miles below 
Julcsburg. Here the Road leaves the South Platte and strikes over 
hills 1 7 miles to Ash Hollow on the North Platte. My Pony is 
wild and untamed. I have my pack (clothes &c) on him about 
150 lbs bound on a tree saddle with cords and I walk and lead him 
with a lariat. I did this all the way to the mines. 

After leaving the Ferry he became unmanageable, broke away 
from me, and got the pack over his head and under his feet, wild & 
frantic, and pounded them under his forefeet, until I caught him. 
He often took these fits afterwards and gave me at times great 
trouble. That day camped on the River Bank [on the north side 
of the South Platte] . Had a bath and washed my shirts. It was 
blazing hot with no shelter or shade. Suddenly a terrific hail 
storm came up. A perfect hurricane with Thunder & Lightning 
beyond anything I ever saw before. I had tied the Pony with his 
Lariat (a rawhide Rope 30 feet long) to a lariat pin in the ground 
and he stood with his stern to the Storm all through. I huddled my 
Robe and Blankets together and held them over my head but the 
hail, the size of Birds eggs & larger, hit my head and hands so as to 
bruise them badly. I was sitting in 6 inches of ice water and could 
do nothing but grin and bear it. Up the Road where a train was 
camped I could see the tents going up into the air and their Stock 
stampeded in a wild run 5 miles down the river. 

The Platte Country & Plains and even in the Mountains these 
terrific hail storms are common and I saw them after that. This 
one lasted two hours. 

After it was over the Sun came out hot as usual and I waited and 
tried to dry my things for that day, but slept in wet blankets. 
Always on the ground and in the open air. 

All the trains had left. And this side of the River was almost 
deserted and had very little traffic. I was all alone and very lone- 
some and homesick, and regretted coming. 

If I had got a boat I would have floated down the River to 
Omaha and returned. It seemed as hard to get back as to go 

I had supposed there would be Ranches where I could buy food, 
on the North Platte and so I had brought only a few biscuits with 
me. I camped Next night on the Bluffs half way over to the North 
Platte, and slept on the ground with no food or water, my Pony 
picketed and browsing all around and his lariat sliding over me 
all night. July 1st a hot walk next day brought me to Ash Hollow 
a wild series of canyons, or Ravines, where General Kearney once 
fought a battle and defeated the Pawnees whose graves yet could 


be seen.* Six miles further brought me to the North Platte half 
dead with thirst and hunger. J had been 24 hours without food or 
water and my throat was swollen badly. I could not drink the 
River water it was so warm, muddy and alkaline. There was no 
train or Ranch there, and no shade and I sat in that hot blazing sun 
on the River Bank all the afternoon, trying to make a screen of my 
blankets. At Sundown I saw a Small one team wagon come down 
the Bluff from the South Platte and camp two miles from me. I 
went over to them and got some fresh milk and cakes. 

The first drink of the milk took the skin off my throat it was so 
sore and swollen I could barely swallow. I have ever since occa- 
sionally been subject to the same swelling there. 

This wagon was small with one light yoke of oxen or cows, with 
a widow and three children, one quite a large boy very smart, going 
to Fort Laramie after a daughter who had been seduced and was 
living with an officer there. She had a small stock of flour &c and 
travelled fast, and I arranged to travel and board with her at $4 
a week. 

That same night we had another thunder & Rain Storm for an 
hour and I got wet clean through and laid in it till morning when it 
was very cold, and I had cramps in my legs all day. The weather 
is very changeable sometimes roasting hot and some mornings 
being actually frosty. It was so that morning and it was difficult 
to find dry wood and make a fire and I suffered very much with the 
cold. It continued wet and chilly all day, and I put on winter 
clothing. My carpet bag was water tight oilskin. 

As few teams had crossed as yet this Road along the South Bank 
of the North Platte is almost deserted and no travel on it and no 
Ranches till we get to [Fort] Laramie 150 miles. 

We travelled through the Rain all day and had no chance to dry 
my blankets and had a damp bed on the ground that night again. 
The widow & her children sleep in the wagon which is covered, but 
of course I sleep on the ground. 

There are high bluffs along the River on our side, and no timber 
but a little cedar, with that and Buffalo chips or dried cattle Dung 
we make our fires. More wet and mud travel next day, but we are 
making 20 miles a day. We seem to have left civilization and 
living behind us. 

8. Neither General Stephen Watts Kearny nor his nephew General Phil 
Kearny ever fought Pawnee Indians. Forman must have been referring to 
Gen. W. S. Harney's battle with Brule Sioux and a band of Oglala, Minne- 
conjou and Northern Cheyennes near Ash Hollow September 3, 1855. How- 
ever, Harney's battle, although usually called the Battle of Ash Hollow, 
occurred more than six miles northwest of Ash Hollow and on the opposite 
(north) side of the North Platte River. Harney reported 86 Indians, 4 
whites dead. See Robert Harvey, "The Battle Ground of Ash Hollow," 
Collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society, XVI (1911), 151-164. 


July 4th We meet Trains of Mormons (English & Danes) on 
their way from Salt Lake nearly destitute. 

I heard afterwards that the train I started with (The Whisky 
train) was afterwards attacked here in this place by Indians and 
broken up and they sold their cargo at Fort Laramie and returned. 
I saw one of them afterwards in Boise, Idaho. 

The land here on the Bluffs is barren, mostly Prickly Pear and 
Wild Sage Brush growth & some stunted Cedar & Juniper. The 
Cliffs on our left are of a peculiar soft rock or clay and have shapes 
like old ruins. The Court House Rock and Chimney Rock two of 
the most remarkable formations are in sight all day. Frank, the 
widow's son rides my pony and I sit in the little wagon and drive 
the cows (or ox team). We get stuck at times in crossing muddy 

July 5th (1864) We are at the Junction where the Road from 
Julesburg on South Platte joins our Road, and this now was once 
[1860-1861] the Pony Express Road and is now along the Over- 
land Telegraph Line. And we have more company of Trains, 
coming over from Julesburg Crossing. This morning our cattle 
had strayed away and Frank & I were out till noon hunting them, 
he with my Pony & I on foot. I was no rider & this explains that. 

That night camped at Chimney Rock a remarkable land mark 
on top of a mound, rising like a Pillar 20 feet thick & 100 feet high 
from the top of the Mound which itself is about another 100 feet 
high. The Court House Rock is another land mark in that country, 
resembling a Large Castle or Court House at a distance as its name 
implies. The softer rock of the original Strata has been worn away 
by the action of the weather for ages leaving the harder rock stand- 
ing in these shapes. These land marks can be seen for 50 miles 

We are joined here by an old Bachelor Shoemaker with a load of 
leather & food, with a one yoke wagon like ours and keep company 
with him to [Fort] Laramie. He is bound for Idaho. 

At the only Telegraph Station near here, and the only hut be- 
tween Ash Hollow and Fort Laramie are a few soldiers keeping the 
Line in order, and I had a talk with Mr. Ellsworth the Operator 
who is formerly from near Paris Canada West. We could see 
Laramie Peak in the Black Hills 70 miles away. 9 

July 7th Passed through the intricate small chalk cut canyons of 
Scotts Bluff another remarkable formation and camped at Horse 

9. In the 19th century Wyoming's Laramie Mountains were called the 
Black Hills. Laramie Peak, el. 10,274, is the highest peak in this range. 
Also it should be noted that Forman sometimes called Fort Laramie simply 
Laramie, which was not confusing in 1864 but would become so after 1868 
when the city of Laramie was founded 80 miles, as the crow flies, southwest 
of the famous fort. 


Creek 32 miles yet to Fort Laramie. 1 have a very sore throat 
from the thirst and cold I got at Ash Hollow. 

At Horse Creek was a large Indian Village of their Skin Teepees 
or Lodges, with the Indians having horse Races. 

They are the best bare back riders I ever saw, and their long hair 
flying behind them and yelling like mad on their swift ponies racing 
in droves, made a fine sight. 

It was dusk and from our knowledge of Indian hospitality we 
thought it safest to camp on the edge of their village. 

Two young squaws came and had tea with us, and a white 
French Canadian hunter who had a squaw wife and lived in the 
Village came and acted as Interpreter. I asked him about Indian 
ways &c and thought to myself I might trade my Pony for the best 
looking of these young squaws and have her pack my things, squaw 
fashion, to Idaho instead of the Pony, and that she would be less 
troublesome and better company. The Indian way is to make her 
father a present such as the Pony, and he would give her to me, 
and that constitutes an Indian Marriage. When one got tired of 
her, by giving her father another present he would take her back, 
and that constitutes an Indian Divorce. I got the Interpreter to ask 
her what she thought of it and she grinned and laughed and nodded 
her consent and seemed highly pleased, and I thought things were 
coming out about right, but on my explaining she would have to 
go to Bannack (Idaho) 700 miles further on, (The Indians knew 
where it was) She declined, as any one marrying a Squaw must not 
take her away from her tribe, but must live there, and so our bar- 
gain ended. 10 I wasn't cut out for an Indian. 

The next day we passed three other Indian Villages and had 
visitors from them all to buy flour. They would not take no for 
an answer. At noon we camped near a Village when two Indians 
came over and opened talk with our widow. She was about 45. 
Stout and strong smelling of Tobacco being a great smoker, but 
romantic withal and a great reader of Cooper's Novels and admirer 
of Indians. I was dozing under the other wagon and could hear 
them trying to talk and watching the treacherous devils, with my 
revolver handy. They were contemplating robbery I knew and 
wanting to find if we were worth robbing, which we were not as 
they saw. 

But she declared she could understand them and that one of 
them wanted to marry her, and that he was a Chief, and Oh those 
noble Red Men, she had a great notion to take him &c &c. If we 
had been worth it they would have brought other Indians who 

10. As noted in the Introduction, Forman sent leaves of his diary home 
to his wife, and then wrote the present reminiscent account 19 years later. 
Presumably his negotiations for an Indian companion, if they occurred, were 
not discussed in the diary he sent home. 


were near and robbed and murdered us no doubt, as they did others 
further ahead of us. 

We passed here into Wyoming Territory, 11 and saw numbers of 
old stone and Adobe Ruins with Port or Loop holes, used by the 
old Overland stage or Pony Express in former days. 

July 9th made Beauvais Ranch 5 miles from Fort Laramie on the 
edge of the Fort Reservation of 10 miles square, inside of which no 
one was allowed to camp. This [G.P.] Beauvais is a French 
Canadian, Indian trader. He has a wife and family in St. Joe and 
several Ranches (or Trading Posts) all over the Indian Country at 
each one of which he has a squaw wife. There are several French 
Canadians in the Indian Village here living Indian Lives and having 
Squaw wives. The Ranch keeper had a wife part Indian and part 
Spanish & part white from New Mexico one of the handsomest 
women I ever saw. 

The Officers at the Fort all have Squaw wives, and there are 
Indian camps all around the fort and hosts of Squaw Prostitutes 
hanging around the Barracks and soldiers quarters. 12 We saw long 
lines of Indian Ponies in charge of squaws, moving away. Lodge 
Poles dragging on the ground from each side and behind the Ponies, 
on which Poles were cross pieces on which their property and 
papooses were loaded. This was a sign of preparation for War as 
the warriors were sending their families out of the way. Old 
Mountaineers know the Lodge Pole trails and that an Indian village 
has moved by there. 

Fort Laramie is 630 miles from St. Joseph and 350 from Fort 
Kearney. It is a series of Barracks and Parade Grounds and Sut- 
ler's Stores & officers houses but no defensive works. It is occu- 
pied by 900 men of the Eleventh Regt. Ohio Cavalry Vols. I 
found one of them Donald A. McDonald from Stratford (he is 
here in Stratford now 1883) a private, and another McDonell from 
Glengarry, Canada West afterwards killed there, and for whose 
mother I afterwards in Stratford got a Pension on McDonald's and 
my evidence. The soldiers had been paid off on 4th July and were 
having a glorious time. McDonald showed me all over the Fort. 
There were true reports of the Northern Sioux at war then further 

I was disappointed at getting no letters here, but wrote home. I 
hesitated about going on from here on account of the Indian ru- 
mored troubles, and would have gone back to Omaha & St. Louis 

11. Wyoming Territory was not created until 1868. Forman in July 
1864 crossed from Nebraska Territory to Dakota Territory, since Dakota 
Territory included most of what is now Wyoming from May 26, 1864 to 
July 25, 1868. 

12. Forman exaggerated when he wrote that all the officers at Fort Lara- 
mie had Indian wives. Most of them did not. 


and gone into something there, if 1 could have got a boat to float 
down to the Missouri River. Jt was well 1 didn't or I would have 
gone right into the Indian Outbreak which broke out right behind 
us, and I would have been killed to a certainty. We had come a 
long road on foot and it was closed behind us by the Indian Out- 
break, although we didn't know it, and it was easier to go ahead 
than backward, but I am dreadfully homesick and lonesome. 

The Alkali water kills many of the Pilgrims' cattle. VA The morn- 
ing after we got to Beauvais Ranch some dozen died and the In- 
dians had them skinned and cut in strips drying on poles for Jerked 
meat for winter, in a few hours. 

All the way from here up for hundreds of miles we passed scores 
of Dead bloated cattle every day, killed by the heat and alkali dust 
and water. 

On July 11th I left the widow camped at Beauvais Ranch (She 
had not found her daughter and would have to stay there or return) 
and pushed on alone past the Fort, my Pack and a Pick & Shovel 
on the Pony and I walking and leading him. Beyond the Fort I met 
a party of Indians who knew my Pony and made much talk about 

Ten miles beyond the Fort I camped with a large train for Puget 
Sound, On the Pacific. A Mr. Chope of Detroit and brother of the 
E. Chope of Detroit of whom Cornelius bought his Buggies for 
Kelvin notes and who visited me at Kelvin. 

The Platte River is narrow and clear water here, and rain seldom 
falls, although I had fixed a sort of tent to sleep under. The Coun- 
try is thickly infested with Rattlesnakes under every Sage Bush. 
The soil dry and barren and the only growth is Sage Brush, Grease 
wood which both make good fuel, and Prickly Pear (Cactus) and 
grass only on the bottoms, and bunch grass on the Ranges. 

Am opposite Laramie Peak and Mountains ahead. 

On July 12 Struck into the Black Kills [Laramie Mountains] all 
alone and no trains, and had lunch and feed for Pony at a cool 
spring in a grove of bitter cottonwoods, where were some graves of 
Pilgrims killed by Indians the year before. 

I was on dangerous ground and dangerous travelling alone as 
Indians were in the Hills around me and had commenced the war 
not far ahead of me by destroying trains and killing Pilgrims, but I 
didn't know it then. 

That night camped at a Telegraph Station at Horse Shoe Creek 
40 miles from [Fort] Laramie making 30 miles that day in a 
sweltering hot sun, with little grass for the Pony, but he was Indian 
and could live on anything, Sage brush, grease wood and browse. 

13. Capt. Ware wrote, p. 30, "Everybody traveling west in those days was 
called a 'pilgrim.' " 


Indian Runners or Scouts (white) had come in that night with news 
of Indian Outbreaks, and were singing Indian war songs and chants 
all night. 

In the morning I brought in the Pony from under the Cliff where 
I had picketed him and tried to get him shod at the Blacksmith's 
shop, but he was too wild and it could not be done. He had never 
been shod and I feared the rough ground granite Road over the 
Black Hills and Rocky Mountains would use his feet up. He stood 
it though unshod for the 700 miles to Virginia City. 

I had hints that 300 Indians had crossed at Deer Creek 60 miles 
ahead and had stolen Stock and killing four people and robbing a 
train only 1 6 miles ahead of me, but I doubted the rumor there had 
been so many of them, but this one was more than true. 

Before starting I asked the operator if it was safe for me to go 
ahead. He gave me a rough answer and no information and I 
went on alone for ten miles to Elk Horn Creek where I found a 
large Train camped who had got a message from the same Tele- 
graph Operator not to move but to wait for other trains and sol- 
diers as the Indians had attacked a train only a few miles ahead 
and stolen their stock and burnt their wagons and killed four men 
and captured women, and were concentrating there, and that Sol- 
diers from Laramie would go up the next day. I staid with this 
Train consisting of 23 wagons. I still doubted the rumors and 
would have gone on still alone but they prevented me. 

July 14th Last night more trains, in all 45 more wagons, came 
in, and we were all corralled in a circle of wagons with the women 
and children inside, and men on guard and out as Scouts, and have 
organized for defense, expecting an Indian attack, but we were too 
strong, as they only attack by surprise where they have the advan- 
tage, over weak trains, and in stealing stock by a sudden Stampede 
early in the Mornings. 

That morning we started, in all a 100 wagons, with Scouts out on 
horseback ahead and on each side. That afternoon 100 soldiers 
of the 1 1 th Regt. Ohio Cavalry, among them D. A. McDonald, 
from Fort Laramie, passed us, and camped near us that evening. 
They had been attacked that morning and lost 50 mules and one 
man wounded. 

Ten miles further on two Trains had been attacked and 14 men 
killed and two women and three children taken captives. 

Our camp was on the La Bonte Creek, and we had herders out 
with the Stock and our wagons corralled in a circle with an opening 
for exit and guards &c, with a large fire in the centre, all enjoying 
ourselves when a fearful stampede came down the Road and passed 
us like a Regiment of Horse. Our Soldiers were camped a mile 
away. The cry was raised of "The Indians" Guard the Corral &c. 
I was in bed, and with others rushed to the mouth of the corral, 
where all was excitement, and some women were there with frying 
pan handles &c ready to fight with the men. Other women rushed 


across the corral to their own wagons crying out "Oh My Baby'" &c 
and things were lively generally. 

It turned out that a party of Indians had really passed us, but 
saw no chance for attack. Signal guns were fired to our herders 
and answered. These Trains were all emigrants and Missourians 
and brave men and women too. 

July 15th We hear of a Train attacked ten miles behind us by 
the same party of Sioux who passed us last night. 

We moved on to where the 30 mules were stolen and find 2 
wagons unhurt and unloaded. The captain of the Troops pressed 
four yoke of Oxen from our train to haul them on. Our train lose 
5 or 6 Oxen even night by the alkali water. That night we and the 
Soldiers camped on LaParelle [ LaPrele] Creek and was joined by 
50 more wagons making 200 wagons in all. 

Indians are now all around us making signals from the Hills with 
large fires to each other. A freight train on the North side of the 
River just opposite us a few miles [was] attacked and some of our 
Soldiers went out and had a skirmish with them, and came back for 
reinforcements and pressed some of our horses (my Pony among 
them) and men and went some 15 [miles] North of the Platte 
where another train had been robbed. They looked very warlike 
going out with two Mountain Cannon and some Shells. We go into 
camp all day waiting for our men to return. They came back that 
night, had found a number of whites killed and buried their bodies, 
but had no fight. 

July 17th We started in the morning 3 or 400 wagons with the 
Soldiers as Escort and at noon camp at Box Alder [Boxelder] 
Creek where the 14 were killed and the two women and children 
had been captured, a Mrs. Kelly and a Mrs. Larimer. 14 It appears 
Mrs. Kelly had a little niece with her whom she slipped off the 
horse in the night and directed back to the emigrant Road. The 
child did so but two Indians followed her and killed and scalped 
her. Mrs. Kelly was a captive all that year and taken far north, 
and was ransomed the next year by Gen. Sully who had some 6000 
troops 300 miles north of us at the time I am writing of. She saved 
him from a surprise and Congress voted her $5000 for it. Mrs. 
Larimer escaped from the Indians with her little boy about 40 miles 
north of us, and was back at Deer Creek when we got there a day 

14. The Kelly-Larimer party of 1 1 persons had been attacked by Sioux 
on July 12. Three members of the party had been killed and two seriously 
wounded. See Senate Report No. 68, 41 Cong., 2 sess. (1869-70 (Serial 
1409) and House Report No. 2700, 49 Cong., 1 sess. (1885-86), Vol. 9 (Ser- 
ial 2443). See also House Report No. 1131 in Serial 2601 and Senate 
Report No. 1591 in Serial 2524; and the two books Forman mentions below: 
Mrs. Fannie Kelly, Narrative of My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians 
(Hartford, 1872) and Mrs. Sarah L. Larimer, The Capture ami Escape; or 
Life Among the Sioux (Philadelphia, 1870). 


or two after this. I have Mrs. Kelly's and Mrs. Larimer's Books 
relating these events in my Library. 

We nooned this July 17 at Box Alder [Boxelder] Creek where 
the capture was made. On the Hill near the Creek to the East one 
of our dogs found the body of the little girl about 5 years old, Mrs. 
Kelly's niece. When we got there the dog was tearing its limbs. It 
had been tomahawked and scalped and had lain there in the hot 
sun four or five days and full of maggots & flies. There were two 
steel pointed arrows in its body with the feathers sticking out. We 
buried it, about 18 inches of dirt being thrown over it where it lay, 
and no coffin, mountain fashion. Other trains had actually passed 
that child before this and heard it crying but were afraid to go to it 
thinking it was an Indian decoy. At the creek were the Graves of 
the others killed, one a young woman. Burnt wagons and new 
graves were at all those camping grounds. In fact at every camp- 
ing ground between the Missouri and Oregon are graves every few 
miles singly and in groups of those killed by Indians or sickness. 
Some at every place by Indians. 15 We moved out in grand style, 
our train 3 miles long, in military order with scouts out &c and four 
miles further struck the Platte, 85 miles across the Hills from where 
I left it. Beside the side of the Road was a dead man, his body full 
of arrows, looking like a brush heap with the feather end of the 
arrows out. He was stripped and scalped and was black with the 
Sun and the maggots rolling in billows from his mouth and nose. 
He had been there about 5 days and had strayed from his train 
hunting probably and been killed by the Indians. 

About a foot of dirt was thrown over him where he lay and we 
moved on, the dried blood was all over the ground and shreds of 
clothing on the bushes showing his struggles before death. 

Six miles further we came to Deer Creek a small Military Post 
and Telegraph Station 100 miles west of Laramie. We camped 
one mile beyond, now fully 500 wagons. 

Mrs. Larimer one of the captives was here. She had escaped 
and with her little boy walked over 40 miles barefoot over Prickly 
Pears plains and was now safe with her husband. But Mrs. Kelly 
is still a captive and an expedition is organized to go and rescue her, 
and our trains are ordered to furnish a number of men and horses 
with 12 days cooked rations to go with the Soldiers to Tongue and 
Powder Rivers 200 miles north, but we refuse as we have a long 
way to go yet before winter and many of us getting out of pro- 

So 150 Soldiers start north. It appeared afterwards, they were 

15. Sickness, notably cholera, took far more lives than the Indians did. 
Ordinarily, well organized parties of any size had little to fear from Indians 
on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails. Travel, however, was excep- 
tionally dangerous in July and August 1864. 


attacked and numbers killed and stampeded back without rest till 
they got to Deer Creek again. Those 1 1 th Ohio men were Pol- 
troons and of no good whatever against the Indians who whipped 
them in every encounter. 16 

(To be concluded) 

16. Agnes Wright Spring, Caspar Collins (New York: Columbia Uni- 
versity Press, 1927), gives a much more favorable opinion of the 11th Ohio 
Volunteer Cavalry, which served in Wyoming 1862-1865 under the com- 
mand of Lt. Col. William O. Collins with headquarters at Fort Laramie. 
Also, Forman's statement that in the pursuit "numbers [were] killed" varies 
considerably from the account given in House Report No. 2700, 49 Cong., 
1 sess. (1885-86), Vol. 9 (Serial 2443), in which it appears that only one 
man who disobeyed orders was killed. 


Excerpts from the column, Local Affairs," in the Frontier Index 
newspaper for March 6, 1 868, published at Fort Sanders. 

The Gold and Silver mines about Dale City are creating a warm 

The government paymaster is expected here next week to pay off 
the troops. 

With a good glass we can see upon the mountain ranges which sur- 
round the Laramie plains, large number of strange and nameless 
wild animals prowling about on the peaks and sides of the moun- 
tains; once and awhile engaged in play and winding up with a big 
fight, making the "har" fly thick and fast. These beasts are of all 
sizes, from three thousand pounds down to three ounces. It is 
conjectured that they were landed here by Noah's ark and have 
remained undisturbed up to the present day; but we will tan some 
of their mammoth hides into toujohn blankets before another 
summer's end. 

Winter set in at Sanders last evening in good hard earnest. It 
began blowing and snowing about six o'clock and continued all 
night. The feathery flakes are still falling through a bitter cold 
atmosphere. The snow is now seven inches deep and drifting fast. 

ITEMS FROM THE U.P. GRADE.— On Sunday night, one man 
at Creighton's camp was shot through his room window, while pre- 
paring to retire, by some outside enemy, and instantly killed. Sus- 
picion rests upon one of the laborers. 

The Sweetwater mines are rushing things, and as soon as spring 
opens, the mills and diggings will roll in the "dust" by the cart load. 
Three mounted infantry deserters from Fort Sanders, mounted on 
stolen horses, were overtaken near Fort Russell on Saturday last 
and brought into Sanders on Wednesday under arrest. 

General Augur and staff and Mr. Samuel B. Reed, Sup't U.P.R.R., 
are reported on the way to Sanders from Omaha. 

Laramie lots are not yet in market. It is supposed they will be 
offered for sale sometime this month. 

The highest market price paid at the Sanders Dining Hall for game 
and wild fowl of every kind. 

The Head Quarters of the U.P.R.R. Engineer Dept. are established 
at Fort Sanders. 

We have two four-horse daily stage lines running between the end 
of the R.R. track in the Black Hills [Laramie Mountains] to 

Independence Kock 
and "Devil's Qate 

Robert L. Munkres 

The history of mankind is, in part, a story of the migration and 
wandering of peoples in search of commerce, land, adventure and 
glory in all of their various combinations. They came, first in small 
groups, probing and exploring; if successful in their search, the few- 
were followed by the many, carrying with them their own individual 
and collective visions and dreams. The dreams were as varied as 
the people themselves, ranging from "The Promised Land" of the 
Israelites to the stories told in Samarkand and Tashkent about the 
fabulous riches of an almost-mythical Cathay. 

This habit of searching for better lands and better things was 
transplanted from the Old World to the New as settlements were 
established. The population grew, and within it developed a 
seeking, probing "wanderlust." For these settlers, the natural 
outlet for this urge lay due west. And west they moved. Across 
the Alleghenies, through the Cumberland Gap, into the "Dark and 
Bloody Ground" of Kentucky, and down the Ohio. 

It remained, however, for the 19th century to witness the greatest 
movement of people. They were on their way to the mountains 
for trapping and trade, to Oregon for land, to California for gold 
and to the "New Zion" of the Salt Lake Valley for a new life. 
From wherever they came and for whatever purpose they traveled, 
most of them followed one of the most famous of all natural 
emigrant roads — the Oregon Trail. 

The Oregon Trail abounds with natural landmarks, which elic- 
ited varying reactions from those who passed : Grand Island, Ash 
Hollow, Court House Rock, Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff were 
among those encountered during the first half of the passage west. 
Just short of the halfway mark stand two of the more unusual and 
spectacular natural sentinels of the trail — Independence Rock and 
the Devil's Gate. 

By the late 1820's both formations were familiar sights to the 
free trappers and company men who roamed the mountain country 
in search of pelts. It was not until 1830, however, that the massive 
piece of granite on the Sweetwater was given its present title. On 
July 4, 1830, Independence Rock was christened in honor of the 
birth date of the nation. William Sublette, leader of this first 
wagon train to cross the overland route, did the honors with, one 


assumes, all the dignity and solemnity appropriate to the occasion. 
"He had an audience of eighty men, most of them seated in the first 
wagons to reach the crest of the continent." 1 

So far as is known, no such formal ceremony was ever held for 
the purpose of naming Devil's Gate in "honor" of the prince of 
darkness. Matthew C. Field did record an Indian legend ascribing 
the formation of this awesome structure to a powerful evil spirit. 2 
It seems a great bad spirit had taken the form of a tremendous 
beast with enormous tusks. This monster was ravaging the Sweet- 
water Valley, thus preventing the Indians from hunting and camp- 
ing there. A prophet, however, informed the tribes that the Great 
Spirit required them to destroy the beast. After suitable prepara- 
tory ceremonies, an attack was launched. Not being equipped to 
engage the monster directly, the Indians occupied the mountain 
passes and ravines surrounding the valley; from these vantage 
points, quiver upon quiver of arrows were fired into the great mass 
of evil. Enraged by the attack, and unable to find its adversaries, 
the beast stamped and snorted, and then, with a mighty upward 
thrust of its tusk, ripped a gap in the mountain. Through this gap 
the Great Evil One disappeared, never to be seen again. The gap 
has since been called "Devil's Gate" by the white man. And if you 
wonder where the beast disappeared to, it may be noted that the 
same Matthew Field also refers to the opening as the "Gates of 
Hell." 3 

As the number of emigrants increased, so did the descriptions 
of natural landmarks such as Independence Rock. Independence 
Rock is an isolated outcropping of the granite which forms the 
mountains enclosing the Sweetwater Valley; it is, thus, part of the 
Sweetwater Range. The rock stands 6,028 feet above sea level; 
its northern summit is 136 feet above terrain. With a circumfer- 

1. J. Cecil Alter, Jim Bridget- . University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 
Oklahoma, 1962, p. 111. Charles L. Camp, in James Clyman, says the date 
is probably 1829. See his footnote on p. 323. For a further discussion of 
the naming of Independence Rock, see Dale L. Morgan and Eleanor Towles 
Harris (editors), The Rocky Mountain Journals of William Marshall Ander- 
son, The West In 1834, p. 118. It is also interesting to note that Sublette's 
biographer, John Sunder, says nothing at all about the naming of Independ- 
ence Rock, let alone claiming that distinction for the subject of his book. 
There is one other point about which one may speculate. The Sweetwater 
and North Platte Valleys were familiar to trappers for five or six years prior 
to 1830. If Independence Rock was so named in 1830, by what name, if 
any, was it called prior to that date? 

2. Matthew C. Field, Prairie and Mountain Sketches. Collected by 
Clyde and Mae Reed Porter. Edited by Kate L. Gregg and John Francis 
McDermott. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, Oklahoma, 1957, 
pp. 122-124. 

3. Ibid., p. 164. In a moment of whimsy, Field observed: "The 'Rock 
Independence' might be called St. Peter's Rock being so near the 'Gates of 
Hell,' which 'can never prevail against it!'." 


ence of 5,900 feet, its mass covers an area of 24.81 acres. Most 
early observers hazarded guesses as to the size of Independence 
Rock. Fremont, for example, stated that it was about forty feet 
high when he saw it in 1842. 4 Lee and Frost, in 1834, indicated 
the rock was twenty or thirty feet above terrain and covered be- 
tween one and three acres." In the same year, William Anderson 
estimated that the circumference was one mile and the height six 
or seven hundred feet. Four years later, Mary Richardson Walker 
wrote that Independence Rock "is I should judge more than 100 
feet high and half a mile in circumference. . . ." 7 It is apparent 
that diarist's figures concerning specific measurements are of vary- 
ing accuracy, even those of Lieutenant Fremont, who was leading 
a scientific exploration. 

As might be expected, the images conjured up by the sight of 
Independence Rock were as varied as the people viewing it. Fre- 
mont (1842) and Stansbury (1849) recorded their very matter-of- 
fact impressions. The former described it as "an isolated granite 
rock;' Vs The latter as "a large rounded mass of granite"'-' and as 
""A granite rock, oval or egg-shaped."' 30 

Many other descriptions are considerably more poetic and 
imaginative. To John Ball (1832), it looked "like a big bowl 
turned upside down; in size about equal to two meeting houses of 
the old New England Style." 11 William Anderson ( 1834) record- 
ed not only the isolation of the "egg-shaped mass of granite . . . 
from all other hills," but also "the varying sparkles of mica which 
are seen by day and by the moon by night." 1 - Mary Richardson 

4. Brevet Col. J. C. Fremont. The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky 
Mountains, Oregon and California. George H. Derby and Company: Buf- 
falo, 1849, p. 82. Hereafter, this source is referred to as Fremont's Report. 

5. D. Lee and H. Frost, Ten Years in Oregon. Unless otherwise noted, 
this and subsequent footnotes refer to typed copies of the original material. 
These copies are in the files of Mr. Paul Henderson, Bridgeport, Nebraska. 
Mr. Henderson's wholehearted cooperation is gratefully acknowledged. 

6. "Anderson's Narrative of a Ride to the Rocky Mountains in 1834." 
Edited by Albert J. Partoil. Frontier and Midland, Autumn, 1938, p. 58. 
Hereafter, this source is referred to as "Anderson's Narrative". 

7. "The Diary of Mary Richardson Walker. June 10-December 21, 1838." 
Edited by Rufus A. Coleman. The Frontier, A Magazine of the Northwest, 
March. 1931, p. 285, entry for Friday, 15. 

8. Fremont's Report, p. 82. 

9. Howard Stansbury, Captain Corps Topographical Engineers, U.S. 
Army, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, 
Including A Reconnaissance of a New Route Through the Rocky Mountains. 
Printed by order of the House of Representatives of the United States By 
Robert Armstrong, Public Printer: Washington, 1853, p. 65. Hereafter, 
this source is referred to as Stansburv's Report. 

10. Ibid., p. 275 

11. "Diary of John Ball." Copied from the Oregon Historical Ouarterlv, 
Vol. Ill, No. 1, by Devere Helfrich. Entry for June 23, 1832. 

12. "Anderson's Narrative", p. 58. 


Walker observed, "It appears as if it had been scraped hardly by 
something." 1 ' 5 Independence Rock appeared to Mrs. E. A. Hadley 
(1851 ) as "a court house standing in the center with a block all 
around," 14 while John Boardman (1843) said simply that it 
"appears as if cemented together with cast iron." 15 Certainly one 
of the more succinct comments came from W. W. Chapman (1849): 
". . . it seems to have been ushered from the bowels of the earth." 16 

The extent of vegetation on Independence Rock also occasioned 
frequent comment. In this connection, it appears that such vege- 
tation varied from time to time. In 1834, William Anderson re- 
ported a complete lack of vegetation, 17 and, in 1842, Fremont 
concurred except for "a solitary dwarf pine" which was growing 
"in a depression of the summit, where a little soil supports a scanty 
growth of shrubs." 18 The following year Matthew Field reported 
drinking from a spring hidden in one of the fissures in the rock. 19 
J. Quinn Thornton, passing by in 1846, "observed ... a number of 
bushes growing which had fixed their roots in the scanty soil, which 
in some places filled up the interstices of the Rock." "Their gen- 
eral appearance was that of a gooseberry bush, although a smaller; 
the fruit yellow, and in taste and color very much like a ripe per- 
simmon." 20 Finally, Virginia W. Ivins (1853) described the top 
of the Rock as being "almost flat, (having) an area of three or four 
acres and is covered with vegetation."- 1 

Different people, viewing Independence Rock at different times 
and under different circumstances render various accounts and 
descriptions of its appearance. For example, Joel Palmer (1845) 
wrote that "on the northeastern side the slope is sufficiently gradual 
to be easily ascended",-- whereas Virginia Ivins (1853) stated 
categorically that "It is a most singular hill, being almost perpen- 
dicular on all sides."-' 1 It is likely that the basis for such discrep- 
ancies lies in the reporters rather than in the object being described. 

13. "The Diary of Mary Richardson Walker", p. 285, entry for Friday, 

14. "Diary of Mrs. E. A. Hadley", entry for Monday, June 16, 1851. 

15. "The Journal of John Boardman: An Overland Journey From Kan- 
sas to Oregon in 1843." Utah Historical Quarterly, October, 1929, Vol. II, 
No. 4, p. 104. Entry for Thursday, July 27th. 

16. "Chapman Diary". Taken from the Quarterly Bulletin, State of 
Wyoming Historical Department, published Cheyenne, August 15, 1923. 

17. "Anderson's Narrative", p. 58. 

18. Fremont's Report, p. 82. 

19. Matthew C. Field, p. 174. 

20. J. Quinn Thornton, Oregon and California in 1848. Harper and 
Brothers: New York. Entry for July 9. 

21. Virginia W. Ivins, Pen Pictures. Newberry Microfilm: 2-28. Com- 
piled by M. J. Mattes — 1945; transcribed by Louise Ridge — 12/45. 

22. Joel Palmer, Journal of Travels Over the Rocky Mountains, 1845- 
1846. 1845-1856. Entry for July 12. 

23. Virginia W. Ivins. 


About five miles above Independence Rock the Oregon Trail 
traveler passed Devil's Gate. It is at this point that, as Fremont 

. . . the Sweet Water cuts through the point of a granite ridge. The 
length of the passage is about three hundred yards, and the width 
thirty-five yards. The walls of rock are vertical, and about four hun- 
dred feet in height; and the stream in the gate is almost entirely choked 
up by masses which have fallen from above. 1 ' 4 

The party of Matthew Field investigated the Devil's Gate somewhat 
more closely approximately a year later in July of 1 843. 

About 20 of us started to effect a passage through this gate, and 3 
of us achieved our aim, Tilghman, Menard and myself . . 500 yards 
through, 400 feet high perpendicular, 6 yards across water surface, 
and a deafening rush of water over sharp rocks. Met Storer, who had 
come in at the other end. Drank to each other across the foaming 
stream. Bathed and formed statues of our persons in a grotto which 
we called 'The niche in the wall'. Left our names here, inscribed on 
a buffalo's skull. 2 -" 

Less than a month later, Theodore Talbot, after describing the gap, 
noted that "It appears strange that this stream should force its rude 
passage through lofty rocks, when there is a natural depression of 
the country, on the very same course and only a few hundred yards 
distant." 20 Captain Stansbury, after raising the same question six 
years later, provided the probable answer: 

It is difficult to account for the river having forced its passing 
through the rocks at this point, as the hills, a very short distance to 
the south, are much lower, and, according to present appearance, pre- 
sent by no means such serious obstacles as had been here encountered. 
It is probable, that when the canon was formed, stratified rocks ob- 
structed it in that direction, and that these rocks have since disappeared 
by slow disintegration.-' 7 

The lower entrance of the Devil's Gate was estimated by George 
Keller (1850) to be "'nearly eighty rods in width, but become (ing) 
gradually narrower until the river forces its way through a fissure 
but a few feet in width." "At this point the walls are four hundred 
feet in perpendicular height."-' 8 These various measurements were 
apparently subject to change. At least, in 1857, O. H. O'Neill 

24. Fremont's Report, p. 83. 

25. Matthew C. Field, pp. 117-118. 

26. Theodore Talbot, Journals. Portland, 1931. Newberry Microfilm: 
2-11. Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945; transcribed by Louise Ridge — 
12/45. Entry for Wednesday (August) 16th (1843). 

27. Stansbury's Report, p. 66. 

28. George Keller, A Trip Across the Plai?is, and Life in California. 
White's Press: Massillon, 1851, p. 18. 


The width of the chasm at the fatherest point to which can be ridden 
to and the cliffs on each side butle [«'c] most over the bed of the 
stream is 1 30 feet. The width is much greater than that given by Capt. 
Stansbury in his report. This can be accounted for by the fact that 
the chasm is annually enlarging. Our guide informed us that he had 
ridden through the gap, a feat now impossible, the bed of the stream 
being filled with large masses of rock which have tumbled in from 
either side. Tt is difficult to pass through at this time even on foot. 21 ' 

In addition to the measurements of the gap, numerous diarists 
noted other features. For example, Joel Palmer ( 1 845 ) noted that 

On the south side the rocks project over the stream, but on the north 
slope back a little. The whole mountain is a mass of gray granite 
rock, destitute of vegetation, save an occasional scrubby cedar or bush 
of artcmisia. ... At the distance of one hundred rods south of this 
is the Gap, where the road passes, but the rock is not so high. South 
of this again is another gap, perhaps half or three-fourths of a mile 
wide. The rocks there rise mountain high. 80 

Despite the name it bears, Devil's Gate inspired more comments 
about beauty and grandeur than about qualities associated with 
"The Underworld." The latter qualities did, however, bring some 
response. David Leeper (1849) noted that boulders "suggestive 
of 'fire and brimstone' were strewn down the opening, forming an 
irregular declivity to the river, as if the genius loci had hurled them 
in from the top especially for his convenience in traversing the 
premises." 31 Phoebe G. Judson reported that, while most of her 
party inspected the gap "so highly honored by the name of his 
satanic majesty", her own "curiosity was not at all excited, though 
I often concluded, when our way was rough and barren, that we 
must have traveled through his domain". 32 

William Keil emphatically concurred with Mrs. Judson's opinion: 
"Many people complain that Ash Hollow is the entrance to hell and 
Devils Gate its exit. But I maintain that Devils Gate is the entrance." 

["From Bethel, Missouri, to Aurora, Oregon: Letters of William 
Keil, 1855-1870. Part I." Translated by William G. Bek. Missouri 
Historical Review, October, 1953, p. 32. Mr. Keil stated further, "So 
we went on the Green River. From there on our misery began." He 
was only one of a great many who discovered a disheartening fact, 

29. "A Portion of the Travel Journal Kept by O. H. O'Neill of the Fort 
Kearney, South Pass and Honey Lake Wagon Road Expedition, Under W. F. 
McGraw 1857." Entry for September 17, 1857. Hereafter, this source 
is referred to as "O'Neill's Journal." 

30. Joel Palmer, entry for July 13. 

31. David R. Leeper, Argonauts of 'Forty-Nine. South Bend, 1894. 
Newberry Microfilm: 2-1. Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945; transcribed 
by Louise Ridge — 12/45. 

32. Phoebe G. Judson, A Pioneer's Search. Bellingham, 1925. New- 
berry Microfilm: 2-30. Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945; transcribed by 
Louise Ridge — 12/45. 


i.e., that west of Fort Bridger the most difficult part of the trail was 

George Keller (1850) manifested mixed feelings: "The scenery 
is fearfully grand — the water roaring at your feet — the naked walls 
of rock apparently almost meeting, above you, while large pieces 
seem ready, from the slightest cause, to be detached from the 
parent mass, and crush you in their descent." 33 

The beauty and grandeur of the scenery, referred to above, im- 
pressed more of those who had occasion to record their thoughts. 
And they generally held to the view that this was the result of God's 
handiwork rather than that of His adversary. Theodore Talbot 
(1843) observed, 'This is a place to contemplate the wonderous 
ways of the Diety." 34 In like manner, John Wood (1850) said, 
"The sublimity and grandeur of the place are indescribable and is 
certainly a great display of God's works, and is well worth any 
traveler's attention." 35 Four years later, Sarah Sutton likened the 
passage of the Sweetwater River through Devil's Gate to that of the 
Israelites through the Red Sea during the flight from Egypt. 36 
Almost all who have seen this natural feature would agree with 
O. H. O'Neill (1857): 

It is difficult to imagine a more sublime scene than is here presented. 
The stream foaming through the chasm and over and beneath the 
numerous fragments of granite. The towering cliffs and the surround- 
ing solitude all are calculated to produce a feeling of awe. Certainly 
many of the scenes to visit which men cross the ocean to Europe are 
far inferior to this. 37 

It is clear that virtually all who passed that way were impressed 
with the scenery of which Independence Rock and Devil's Gate 
were a part. There existed, however, another major attraction 
which is reflected in the title bestowed upon Independence Rock by 
Father De Smet — "The Great Register of the Desert." While the 
reputation belonged to Independence Rock, there is ample evidence 
that travelers also recorded their names with some frequency on or 
near Devil's Gate. 38 Nonetheless, it was Independence Rock which 
served as "a place of advertisement, or kind of trapper's post 

33. George Keller, p. 18. 

34. Theodore Talbot, entry for Wednesday, August 16. 

35. "John Wood Diary", entry for July 5. 

36. "Diary of Sarah Sutton". Copied from the typed copy belonging to 
Mrs. Frances T. McBeth, 1520 Wellington Street, Oakland, California, May 
28, 1957. Entry for Thursday, June 15, 1854. 

37. "O'Neill's Journal", entry for September 17, 1857. 

38. For example: Mrs. E. A. Hadley (1851): Tuesday, June 17 — 
Devil's Gate "is a great curiosity — here are also an abundance of names." 
O. H. O'Neill (1857): September 17, 1857 — "The sides of the precipices 
like Independence Rock are covered with the names of those who have 
visited this wonder of wonderness." 


office." 59 "It was covered with names of the passing emigrants, 
some of whom seemed determined, judging from the size of their 
inscriptions, that they would go down to posterity in all their fair 
proportions." 40 The reasons for leaving one's name emblazoned 
on Independence Rock were at least as varied as the methods by 
which the signatures were rendered. William Anderson refers to 
the use of "buffalo grease and powder," 41 while Matthew Field 
used "a boiled mixture of powder, buffalo grease and glue." 42 
Joel Palmer reported that "Portions of it (Independence Rock) are 
covered with inscriptions of the names of travelers, with the dates 
of their arrival — some carved, some in black paint, and others in 
red." 43 

Emigrants, of course, frequently inscribed their names in re- 
sponse to that urge which still causes men to so record their pres- 
ence at a given place. On some occasions, the name and date was 
intended to serve as a message to those who came after, thus the 
designation of Independence Rock as a "trappers' post-office." It 
is not, therefore, surprising that William Anderson, accompanying 
the William Sublette party to the Green River rendezvous, con- 
cluded "There are few places better known or more interesting to 
the mountaineer than this huge boulder. Here they look for and 
obtain information of intense interest to them . . . (which they) 
read and reread with as much eagerness as if they were letters in 
detail from long absent friends." 44 The party with which Anderson 
was traveling amply illustrates the use of Independence Rock as a 
"message-bearer." Sublette's party ate breakfast at Independence 
Rock on the morning of June 7, 1834. 45 Nathaniel Wyeth's diary 
has the following entry for June 9, 1834: "Made S.W. 10 miles 
and made Rock Independence on which W. L. Sublette had noted 
that he had arrived on the 6th but I think that could have not done 
so before the 7th. I noted my name and made S. W. along the 
creek. . . ." 46 This exchange between Sublette and Wyeth involved 
much more than mere pleasantries. Both men were racing for the 
rendezvous on Green River, a race which Sublette won. Upon 
arrival, Wyeth discovered he had lost to Sublette the business of the 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Wyeth had thought he had a firm 
contract with this company through the person of Milton Sublette, 
William's brother. Obviously the contract was not unbreakable; 
Wyeth's goods were refused. Partially for revenge and partially 

39. "Anderson's Narrative", p. 58. 

40. Stansbury's Report, p. 65. 

41. "Anderson's Narrative", p. 58. 

42. Matthew C. Field, p. 117. 

43. Joel Palmer, entry for July 12. 

44. "Anderson's Narrative", p. 58. 

45. Ibid. 

46. Journal of Nathaniel Wyeth. Entry for June 9, 1834. 


to attempt to secure a profit on what were now surplus goods, 
Wyeth moved on to the Snake River where he founded Fort Hall. 

In common with the vast majority of travelers, Theodore Talbot 
examined with interest the names on Independence Rock, indicat- 
ing that many famous persons were thus represented. Mr. Talbot 
also followed an unfortunately frequent practice in that he failed to 
stipulate the specific names to which he referred. He did, however, 
mention a few of the inscriptions: "Here are the names of two 
travelers who were taken prisoners by indians, while in the very 
act of inscribing them. Here is the sacred emblem of the cross 
and the letters I.H.S. Nor amid the solitary grandeur of the 
wilderness is the intense ardor of political strife abated, here in 
large characters stands the name of 'Henry Clay.' Beside it, some 
ranker politician, has placed in still larger characters, "Martin Van 
Buren'." 47 

Talbot obviously was familiar with the story of the two travelers 
trapped by Indians, even though he does not mention their names. 
It is possible that he learned of the incident from Thomas Fitz- 
patrick, the leader of his party. Fitzpatrick had also been the head 
of the party to which the two travelers belonged. The incident is 
reported by a member of that party : 

It had been the custom of all who passed, to inscribe their names 
upon it (Independence Rock); and accordingly, a portion of the party 
did so. Dr. White and Mr. Crocker had finished theirs, and left Hast- 
ings and Lovejoy, who were doing theirs with greater care. They had 
been gone scarce ten minutes, when a large party of the Sioux Indians 
came round from the north side of the rock, and, rushing, upon them, 
stripped them of most of their effects, and made strong demonstrations 
of an intention to kill Lovejoy. Hastings could not account for their 
not manifesting a like disposition towards him, otherwise than that he 
was possessed of a very dark complexion, and therefore more like 
themselves than poor Lovejoy. They detained them for some hours, 
when a very grave consultation was held, and they concluded to ad- 
vance towards the company of whites with their prisoners. Meanwhile, 
the party had become extremely anxious, because of the absence of 
their friends, and were happy to see them again, though in the pos- 
session of their captors; for they were now assured of their being alive, 
when they had feared it was otherwise. They were convinced that the 
intentions of the savages were hostile, and therefore the wagons were 
drawn into a circle, and the women and children stowed into them, 
and every disposition made for battle. They were keenly alive to the 
awkwardness and danger of their situation — at least eight hundred and 
fifty miles from the States, and before them several hundreds of the 
most warlike tribe in the country. They were at a quarter of a mile's 
distance, when Mr. Fitzpatrick went forward to meet them, making 
demonstrations of peace, and a desire that they should stop. His re- 
peated signs were disregarded, and they rode steadily onward, till 
nearly within gun-shot, when they suddenly halted, apparently intimi- 
dated by the array. After a short pause, Hastings and Lovejoy were 

47. Theodore Talbot, entry for Tuesday, August 15. 


liberated, and ran joyfully to their friends, the tears rolling down their 
cheeks as they recounted their escape. 48 

The cross seen by Mr. Talbot was undoubtedly the symbol 
which had been inscribed by John Charles Fremont on August 
23rd, 1842. ,!> The appearance of the names of Clay and Van 
Buren is accounted for by Matthew Field: 

On this remarkable rock, in the course of the afternoon, we printed 
the name of HENRY CLAY in large letters. Our paint was a boiled 
mixture of powder, buffalo grease and glue, which resists the action of 
the wind and rain with great tenacity. This was on the 22nd of July, 
and when we returned to the same place in September (August 28), 
we found the name of MARTIN VAN BUREN, in letters three times 
as large placed over our inscription, 'by Wm. Gilpin'. Gilpin was some 
two or three years since editor of the St. Louis Argus, a furious parti- 
san print, and followed us out in company with your Lieut. Freemont, 
the topographical engineer. Finding the name of Clay on the rock, 
he determined not to be outdone in advancing the interests of his party, 
and up went Martin Van Buren, in mammoth capitals, over the head 
of Henry Clay. History shows how far war was once carried into 
Africa, and this chapter may record how politics have been promul- 
gated in the Rocky Mountains. 50 

Finally, the letters "I.H.S." were placed there by Father DeSmet. 
With regard to the other inscriptions seen but not reported, we may 
assume that Talbot (and probably most viewers since) speculated 
as to how and why they were made. While answers to some such 
questions are possible, the inscrutability of the greater number of 
the names on Independence Rock remains. What stories of com- 
edy, romance and tragedy have been lost to history except for these 
mute symbols recorded on granite? Unhappily, in too many 
instances, the answer must be sought only in the imagination. 

The practice of carving or painting one's name on Independence 
Rock was generally accepted, if not universally practiced. It 
should be noted, however, that this custom was not totally without 
critics. William Chandless, who passed the great rock in 1855, 
was noticeably caustic in his comments about name-carving as well 
as about other matters which came to his attention. 

On this rock is the cross, placed there by Colonel Fremont, and 
since a subject of foul-mouthed abuse against him. If ever man made 
the direst vulgarity almost poetical, Colonel Fremont has done so 
when he speaks of the cross being 'surrounded by the names of many 
since dead, and for whom the rock is a giant tombstone'. I am sorry 
to say the Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, is similarly a vast sepulchre of 
'names forgotten, born to be forgot', and much defaced thereby. This 

48. A. J. Allen, Thrilling Adventures, etc. of Dr. Elijah White. New 
York, 1859. Newberry Microfilm: 3-25. Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 
1945; transcribed by Louise Ridge — 4/46; re-typed by R. Mackrill — 1963. 
Letter home, dated Fort Hall, August 15, 1842. 

49. Fremont's Report, p. 107. 

50. Matthew C. Field, p. 117. 


vile habit is prevalent enough in England, but perhaps less excusable 
in America, where people have greater opportunities of 'calling a place 
after their own names', as several hundred Brownsvilles, Jonesvilles, 
Greensvilles, (etc.) are evidence.-" 1 

Emigrant parties on the trail to Oregon or California generally 
attempted to maintain at least the semblance of a connection be- 
tween themselves and the society they had left behind. For this 
reason, if for no other, traditional holidays were celebrated to 
whatever extent possible. This was particularly true of the Fourth 
of July, a date which uniformly found wagon trains at some point 
enroute to the west. Nowhere was Independence Day more appro- 
priately celebrated than at the rock whose very name commemor- 
ated the birth of the nation. Two examples from the year 1853 
will suffice to illustrate the nature of such celebrations. The party 
with which Virginia W. Ivins traveled camped near Independence 
Rock on July 1. During the stop she observed "A number of men 
. . . hard at work hoisting a deserted wagon to the top, intending 
to roll it off to celebrate Independence day, so near at hand." - 
Her party went on to Devil's Gate, where they observed July 4th 
"by opening a demijohn of wine, and demolishing that, and a large 
fruit cake which was baked for the occasion in our far away 
Iowa home"."' 3 

A second train, several days behind that of Mrs. Ivins, celebrated 
the Fourth at Independence Rock itself. Phoebe G. Judson, who 
recorded the festive occasion, makes no mention of the "wagon- 
drop" noted above. We can only speculate as to whether she failed 
to see it, or, as is more likely, the men involved found the task of 
hoisting more than had been bargained for. In any event, the 
Judson party had a picnic. 

We were isolated from all other trains, far from civilization, without 
the banner of our country to unfurl to the breeze, and there was no 
band of martial music to thrill us with its inspiring strains. But more 
loyal hearts never entered upon the festivities of the day with greater 
enthusiasm than did these pilgrim travelers through the wilderness. 
Each family contributed from their stores their very best. . . . Our 
dinner was not so elaborate an affair as the customary Fourth of July 
dinners, but I doubt not was more keenly relished by ail. . . . The 
crowning piece of the fiest was a savory pie, made of sage hen and 
and rabbit, with a rich gravy; the crust having been raised with yeast, 
was light as a feather; cake of three varieties (fruit, pound and 
sponge), pickles, dried beef and preserves, rice pudding, beans and 

51. William Chandless, Visit to Salt Lake. London, 1857. Newberry 
Microfilm: 2-17. Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945; transcribed by Louise 
Ridge — 12/45. Entry for October 1, 1855. The "foul-mouthed abuse" 
refers to the presidential campaign of 1856. Fremont's opponents charged 
he was Roman Catholic and cited the cross carved on Independence Rock 
as partial evidence. 

52. Virginia W. Ivins. 

53. Ibid. 


dried fruit. Beverages: tea, coffee, or pure cold water from the 
mountain stream, as we chose; while from the hearts glowed sparkling 
wit, in expressions of patriotic mirth well suited to the spirit of the 

Local products, such as sage hen and rabbit, frequently formed 
the basis of a traveler's diet. Another cooking aid found near 
Independence Rock was called saleratus. J. Quinn Thornton 

... we saw a large pond of water so strongly impregnated with the 
carbonate or bi-carbonate of potash, that the water would no longer 
hold it in solution. . . . Along the edges of the pond it was found in 
broad and perfectly white sheets, from one to two inches thick. . . . 
That which was taken up from the bottom of the pond looked precisely 
like fine salt, taken from a bucket of water into which so much has 
been thrown that it would hold no more in solution. These ponds 
were numerous in the subsequent portions of our journey. The emi- 
grants collected this salt, and used it, under the name of saleratus for 
the purpose of making bread light and spongy. Most persons liked the 
bread so made. I did not . ."■" 

Not all travelers used this culinary aid. David R. Leeper (1849) 
noted "We could have shoveled up the stuff by the wagon-load, 
but, being afraid to use it, did not avail ourselves of the oppor- 

If some found saleratus distasteful, there were other elements 
sometimes present that resulted in equally unsatisfactory results. 
The same David Leeper who feared the use of saleratus said of his 
party's celebration of July 4th: 

We used the river water for camp purposes during our stopover for 
the patriotic exercises. Imagine our chagrin and disgust when soon 
after breaking camp the next morning, we discovered the putrid car- 
cass of an ox steeping in a brook that discharged into the river a short 
distance above where we had been using the water.-"' 7 

The trail west was not, however, one passed over lightly amidst 
celebrations and beautiful scenery. While some parties honored 
the nation's birthday with feasting, there were others for whom that 
day became a tragic memory. 

We were in Wyoming now and near the headwaters of the Platte. 
About this time little Frankie Shedd, two years old, was taken sick. 
we were now out of reach of doctors. We continued on our journey. 
. . . The evening of the third of July we reached Independence Rock 
and camped. I think the little boy passed away soon after. The next 
morning his father made a very neat coffin as he was a good carpenter, 
and in the afternoon they had the funeral, which was on Independence 
day. On the fifth we resumed our journey, that was the only death we 

54. Phoebe G. Judson. 

55. J. Quinn Thornton, entry for July 9, 1846. 

56. David R. Leeper. 

57. Ibid. 


had on the trip, so we were more fortunate than most of the emigrant 
trains. 58 

By the time the wagons had reached the Sweetwater, most non- 
essential items had long since been abandoned. The road up the 
Platte River was littered with '"old clothes of every description, and 
there was towels, gowns and hairpins strewed all along the road 
from the time we struck till we left the river, and books of every 
sort and size from Fanny Hill to the Bible.*' ,; ' As the summer 
progressed, the trail became increasingly hot and dusty. Those 
who avoided this problem by departing earlier in the spring fre- 
quently encountered uncomfortable weather. Bad weather was by 
no means unusual as trains passed from the Platte to the Sweet- 
water. On June 14, 1838, Myra Eells wrote "Rode nine hours, 
twenty-eight miles. Encamped on the west side of Independence 
Rock, at the foot of the Rocky Mountain; so cold that we need all 
our winter clothes." 00 On June 15, 1850, one train encountered a 
snow storm at Independence Rock; 01 ten days later another party 
camped in the same vicinity in a heavy hail storm. - Thunder- 
storms, sometimes accompanied by hail and hard wind, are referred 
to in a number of diaries. o:: Thunder and wind-driven hail or rain 
not only created discomfort for the emigrants, it also made the 
stock and teams more difficult to control. On occasion, a danger 
above and beyond that of runaway animals presented itself. Wil- 
liam H. Jackson recorded such an occasion. 

Thursday 23d. The creek at this place goes through a very peculiar 
rent in the rock (Devil's Gate). In the p.m. had quite a shower and a 
hard time driving. The thunder and lightning was in dangerous prox- 
imity at one time. . . . 

58. Emaline F. Hobart, "An Account of the Fletcher's Crossing of the 
Plains." Copied from the typed copy belonging to Miss Lorraine Fletcher, 
4638 S.W. Luradal Avenue. Portland, Oregon, August 6, 1957. 

59. The Journal of Richard Owen Hickman. An Overland Journey to 
California in 1852. Edited by M. Catherine White. Historical Reprints. 
Sources of Northwest History, No. 6. State University of Montana, Mis- 
soula. P. 12, entry for June 23, 1852. 

60. " 'Journal of Myra F. Eells'. Kept while passing through the United 
States and over the rocky mountains in the spring and summer of 1838." 
As copied from the Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association, seven- 
teenth Annual Reunion. Portland, Oregon, June 18, 1889. Entry for 
Thursday, June 14. 

61. "Diary of Orange Gaylord to California and Oregon 1850." As 
copied from the Transactions of the Forty-fifth Annual Reunion of the 
Oregon Pioneer Association, Portland, Oregon, July 19, 1917. Entry for 
June 15. 

62. "The Journal of Robert Chalmers April 17-September 1, 1850." 
Edited by Charles Kelly. Utah Historical Quarterly, January, 1952, p. 43, 
entry for June 25. 

63. For example, Sarah Sutton, entry for June 14, 1854: "Came about 
16 miles today, after two days travel from the Platte River. Just about 
noon today, as we were travelling along the road, we had a severe thunder- 
storm and hard hail and rain and wind." 


Friday 24th. As we passed Doolittle's corral this a.m. we learned 
that one of his men — a fine young fellow, had been killed by the 
lightning of last night. The boys were standing by his grave as we 

Accidents were an ever-present possibility on the trail. Some 
were caused by nature, as just noted, and others by the very human 
capacity for error. The diary of Lydia Milner Waters furnishes a 
case in point. 

As we were passing Saleratus Lake, one of our men saw an antelope, 
and took a heavily loaded gun, which was prepared in case of an 
Indian attack, out of the wagon. He couldn't get near enough to shoot 
the animal so put the gun back in the bow of the wagon, and left it 
cocked. I was driving oxen in the wagon at the time, resting from 
driving loose stock. In moving, the skirt of my dress caught the ham- 
mer of the gun. Off it went. Our horses were tied with long ropes 
behind, and luckily the whole charge raked only one side of the horses. 
They broke loose and ran away. We were the last of the train, so no 
one was shot. The wagon cover caught fire and, as usual, our water 
had been given away. Someone ran to a forward wagon for water. 
I thought of the leaves in the teapot, and filling my hands with them 
patted on the fire. The wind was very strong, but I almost had it out 
when the water came. Had a patchwork quilt over the traps inside, 
and it was burnt considerably. George got the horses. The one we 
called vSam was well peppered, and the slugs did not all work out until 
five months afterward. My hands were so scorched that they did not 
get well for two months. 05 

It took a hardy breed to travel the road west, and survive. Some 
who started did not have the stamina to complete the journey. 
John Wood described one such instance. One day's travel beyond 
Devil's Gate, on July 7, 1850, he wrote: 

Today I saw a man who had just buried his wife. He told me she 
had grieved to death. He had left home under very favourable cir- 
cumstances, having more than he could use in all his life, but not con- 
tent, started across these plains with his wife and three children. He 
said that he started with a carriage for his family to ride in, but it had 
broken down and they were obliged to ride in the wagon. The Indians 
had stolen his horses and the man he had employed to drive his ox- 
team had left him and he, not used to labor, had to walk and drive the 
team. His wife and children had walked to favor the team until they 
could go no more, and soon after died. He said that he did not expect 
to live much longer himself. He related to me his wife's dying lecture 
to him, which made me feel as I had felt before. This man, and many 
others, like old Aaron, wanted enough gold to make a calf, perhaps 
for other fools to worship. GG 

64. The Diaries of William Henry Jackson. Edited by Leroy R. and Ann 
W. Hafen. The Arthur H. Clark Company: Glendale, California, 1959. 
p. 69. 

65. Lydia Milner Waters, "Account of a Trip". Quarterly of the Society 
of California Pioneers. Newberry microfilm: 3-14. Compiled by M. J. 
Mattes — 1945; transcribed by Louise Ridge — 3/46. 

66. "John Wood Diary", entry for July 7, 1850. 


The most feared danger on the trail, however, was none of those 
thus far mentioned. Without question, the greatest dread of the 
emigrants was cholera. Possessing little knowledge of the disease, 
other than its deadly effect, word that cholera had struck was 
enough to create near panic in most trains. And well it might, for 
one notation common to almost all personal records kept during 
the first half of the trip to Oregon or California is that of death 
caused by this infamous disease. Some maintained, as did John 
Wood, that they noticed less sickness as they moved beyond Fort 
Laramie and toward the mountains. 67 But cholera remained a 
threat at least beyond Devil's Gate and on toward South Pass. 
Robert Chalmers, a member of a train about a week and a half 
ahead of John Wood, passed Devil's Gate on June 26, 1850. The 
following day, he wrote "Passed 4 people who had died with 
cholera," and the day after "Passed several cases of cholera 
morbus. Five deaths and two dying." 08 

On occasion, even cholera could serve as the agent for a rough 
sort of retributive justice. 

When we arrived at Sweetwater on Friday last we found a company 
there from Iowa. One man in the company had been the cause of a 
husband and wife separating. The old man's name was Prouty. The 
man and woman's name I disremember, but through the persuasion of 
some of our company they were made to drop it and live together 
again. On yesterday this old Prouty, who was instrumental in parting 
them was seized with the cholera and died and was buried at Devil's 
Gate 6 » 

Weather, accidents and sickness all contributed greatly to the 
difficulties of the passage west, and were the cause of most of the 
fatalities. There was a "Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse" 
along the trail — man himself. . Small parties or stragglers were 
almost always subject to the danger of Indian attack, and the possi- 
bility of theft losses plus the loss of life itself was ever-present. 
Horses were, of course, the prime target; many a traveler was left 
afoot when his animals were "borrowed." There was a consensus 
among those most familiar with the tribes of the region that the 
Crows were the most accomplished in the art of obtaining horses, 
mostly those belonging to someone else. There are instances on 
record of the Crows forcing a traveler to participate in a trading 
charade. The traveler's horse, clothing and personal possessions 
would be "accepted" by the Crows; in exchange, they would give 
the denuded traveler an old nag and a worn-out blanket. One 
soldier who deserted at Fort Laramie returned several days later in 
just this condition after a "business conference" with the Crows. 

67. Ibid., entry for July 6, 1850. 

68. 'The Journal of Robert Chalmers", p. 43, entry for June 25. 

69. 'The Journal of Richard Owen Hickman", p. 11. 


The soldier's plight was not at all lessened by the fact that the 
stolen horse he was riding when he met the Crows belonged to the 
Post Commander. 

Indians by no means monopolized the field of thievery, nor were 
all murders on the trail the result of their activities. Sarah Sutton 
(1854) reported that the area around Devil's Gate was "infested 
with thieves and robbers, watching for a good opportunity to take 
emigrant cattle and horses . . . The Indians are better than the 
whites in my estimation." 70 

The number of fatalities among the wagon trains probably can 
never be completely tabulated, but individual diarists did some- 
times record those of which they were aware. John T. Kearns did 
so in 1852. His record gives at least some insight into the dangers 
posed, by the factors noted earlier, between Fort Laramie and 
Devil's Gate. The party was at Fort Laramie on June 19; by 
July 2 it was about a day and half beyond Devil's Gate. During 
this thirteen-day interval, Kearns made the following notations: 
Tuesday, June 22 — ". . . passed several graves, but not as many as 
below Fort Laramie."; Thursday, June 24 — "Fifteen graves to- 
day;" Saturday, June 26 — "Saw a notice of a man being hung for 
murder and robbery. The notice was headed 'Dried beef for sale, 
wholesale or retail'. The deed was committed on June 5, making 
the fifth case of murder on the way;" Sunday, June 27 — "We un- 
derstand this afternoon that there were more deaths behind than 
ever;" Monday, June 28 — "Passed the upper ferry on the Platte 
River. 2369 teams have crossed previous to this day. One man 
was drowned today in swimming horses across;" Tuesday, June 29 
— "Passed six graves today;" Thursday, July 1 — (the party passed 
Devil's Gate) "Passed eleven graves today. Two of them were 
close together. One was hung for murdering the other;" Friday, 
July 2 — "Passed eleven fresh graves." 71 

At the peak of the emigration, during the early 1850's, a toll 
bridge was established just east of Independence Rock, together 
with a modest trading post. Both were seen by Mrs. Maria A. 
Belshaw in June of 1853, but "The emigrants do not cross the 
bridge — they ford the river about a mile from the Rock west." 72 
Of course, some trains did cross the bridge. In fact, just fifteen 

70. "Diary of Sarah Sutton". 

71. John T. Kearns. "Journal of Crossing the Plains to Oregon in 1852." 
As copied from the Transactions of the Forty-Second Annual Reunion of 
the Oregon Pioneers Association, Portland, Oregon, June 25, 1914. Entries 
for the dates indicated. 

72. "Diary Kept By Mrs. Maria A. (Parsons) Belshaw." Copied from 
"New Spain and the Angle-American West," by Herbert Eugene Bolton. 
Entry for June 30th. Mrs. Belshaw also reported seeing many dead cattle 
beyond Devil's Gate. Such losses were commonly attributed to the ill- 
effects of alkaline pools upon animals not accustomed to such water. 


days earlier, on June 15, an emigrant party "Paid $3 a wagon and 
swam the stock across." 715 At that time the river was "very high 
and swift. There are cattle and horses drowned here every day; 
there was one cow went under the bridge and was drowned, while 
we were crossing, belonging to another company. The bridge is 
very rickety and must soon break down." 74 One day short of a 
year later, another group of travelers found the bridge still stand- 
ing, but the business practices of the proprietor a bit sharp. 

Here (at Independence Rock) is a white Trader as usual, with an 
Indian Wigwam. . . . Paid 50 cents a wagon crossing on a bridge. Here 
the Squatter told us that being Mr. Sutton belonged to the same Society 
he did, he would tell us where there was good grass just across the 
bridge, and he would not charge anything for the horse and wagon 
and would furnish us wood to burn. So according to his kind direction 
we drove across the bridge and pitched our tents where there was 
much sweet water. We were all rejoicing at the kindness of the 
stranger, but when about a dozen of them went back for wood he 
charged them 25 cents apiece. They paid him the money and came 
back in high gales of laughter at the trick that had been played on 
them. Some of the Bretheren of the I.O.O.F. went to visit him and 
try his grip and found he did not know the mystery. I dont believe 
that any many of good principle will live here with Indians and their 
smoky Buffalo skin wigwams. 75 

Mrs. Sutton was not noticeably impressed either with the people 
she met or by the country in what is now central Wyoming. The 
next day, June 15, she made this entry: 

Left the bridge this morning with the hospitable stranger and his 
venemous Indians. . . . Within three or four miles of the bridge we 
came to what is called the Devil's Gate. . . . Here were two Indian 
lodges and seven or eight cabins of Traders and numbers of half In- 
dian children. ... In some places the pines and cedars grow large 
enough to build these little cabins that these French and Indian Trad- 
ers reside in. These settlers do not pretend to raise a thing, not even 
in the garden. One thing, the land seems too poor to support any 
growth; one gentleman told us it was useless to try as there would be 
a hundred Indians to every ear of corn and they would sit down by it 
until it got into roasting ears and then fight to see who would have it. 76 

With the completion of the transcontinental railroad in the 
1860\ the era of the wagon treks drifted to a close. With it came 
a decline in the importance of the great overland trail. Although 
we here stop our account, let no one think that further tales asso- 
ciated with Independence Rock and Devil's Gate do not exist. As 
earlier we said little about those paladins of the high country — the 

73. "Diary of Mrs. Amelia Stewart Knight, an Oregon pioneer of 1853." 
As copied from the Transactions of the Fifty-sixth Annual Reunion of the 
Oregon Pioneer Association for 1928. Entry for Wednesday, June 15. 

74. Ibid. 

75. "Diary of Sarah Sutton", entry for June 14, 1854. 

76. Ibid. 


mountain men — we now halt on the approach to the age of cattle 
barons and homesteaders. 

Today highways follow portions of the Oregon Trail through 
Wyoming. In minutes, travelers can cover a distance equal to a 
day's journey for a prairie schooner; in one day contemporary 
vehicles carry passengers from Fort Laramie to South Pass; in a 
few hours jet aircraft traverse half a continent. Under such cir- 
cumstances it is difficult to imagine how the scenery appeared and 
what the trip was like at an earlier time. It is the purpose of this 
article, in some small way, to spark the imagination, hoping that 
the reader will thereby appreciate more fully one part of the open- 
ing of the west. 


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An early sketch 











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Courtesy of E. Luella Gulliver 
GEORGE FORMAN. 1830 1889 

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Courtesy of E. Luella Gulliver 

The "likeness" Forman carried on his trip 

Zhe^hn u p0rluyee" Phillips 

A Study in Wyoming Mklore 


Robert A. Murray 

The country that now comprises Wyoming is big, done in bold 
relief, swept by mercurial weather. A hundred years ago it lay 
across the main avenues of westward expansion. The history of 
the region contains type-specimen stories from a broad range of 
the major development phases of the West as well as complex tales 
of epic proportion. Not content with these, and in fact sometimes 
ignoring them, writers of more than a generation have contributed 
to the evolution of a handful of legends which sometimes over- 
shadow the more important aspects of the region's history in the 
public view. 

Perhaps the best publicized of these is the tale of John "Portu- 
gee" Phillips' ride with dispatches from Fort Philip Kearny in 
December of 1 866. Phillips has become one of the major figures 
in Wyoming folklore. This is understandable, since even the 
known facts of the episode make a fair story, and since the man 
himself became well known in the most populous region of the 
state and achieved some prominence through his later activities. 
But what were the facts? Who was this man? How did the legend 
bloom to the point of proliferation in the pulp press and elsewhere 
in recent years? 

John Phillips was born Manuel Felipe Cardoso, April 8, 1832, 
near the town of Terra, on the island of Pico, in the Azores. He 
was the fourth of nine children born to Felipe and Maria Cardoso. 1 
At some point around 1850, he left a Portuguese whaling ship in 
California to join the gold rush. 2 Little has come to light about his 

1. Ermelindo Aviia, "John (Portugee) Phillips, Heroi Portugues em Tar- 
ra Americana," in Boletim do Nucleo Cultural da Horta, Volume 3, Number 
1, 1962, pp. 35-42. This interesting assembly of folklore is supplemented 
by family and baptismal data from Church records. It was graciously trans- 
lated for the writer by Miss Jacqueline Logan of the Modern Languages 
Department of Casper College. Most of the other new material in the 
paper centers upon Phillips' visit to the Azores in later life. 

2. Ibid., also letter, John Hunton to Grace R. Hebard, published in: The 
Frontier, Vol. II, 1931, p. 176. 


activities over the next few years, but he is supposed to have par- 
ticipated in the California, Oregon, Columbia River, Oro Fino, and 
Salmon River gold rushes before coming to the Boise Basin in 
1862."' He is also supposed to have resided for a time in Linn 
County, Oregon. He had apparently left there before the 1860 
census, however. 1 

Phillips was apparently well acculturated, and had anglicized his 
name by 1862, though he traveled with companions only identified 
as "Portuguese." They were part of the Boise's original party of 
discovery, led by George Grimes, and participated in the fight with 

Indians in which Grimes was killed in the summer of 1862. 5 

He continued to mine in that area into 1863, and may have par- 
ticipated in the expedition led by Jefferson Standifer to retaliate for 
Grimes death/' Phillips did reinter Grimes' remains, and he built 
a mound to mark the new grave. He also filed a placer claim in 
Mrs. Grimes' name in the spring of 1863." 

Most of the experienced "$15 per day" class of placer miners 
soon moved to the new gold fields of Montana, and Phillips went 
with them. 8 By the spring of 1866, these deposits too, were play- 
ing out, and this restless breed of far-fringe prospectors were on the 
move. Jefferson Standifer, of Boise Basin fame, organized a large 
force of prospectors early that summer from such places as Helena, 
Virginia City and Blacktail Creek. They moved on to Bozeman, 
gathering additions to the party as they went. From the Gallatin 
they went to Clarks' Fork (of the Yellowstone), where the un- 
wieldy party split up. Standifer took the main party along the 
front of the main ranges to Wind River Canyon, while Robert 
Bailey took around sixty of these men to prospect the Pryors and 
the Big Horns/' The Bailey party worked over most of the high 
country streams and Middle Fork of Powder River by early Sep- 
tember. 10 They came down from the mountains with the first 
snows. Seventeen of the party joined a government mail escort 

3. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 19, 1875, p. 2, col. 2. 

4. H. H. Bancroft, The Works of Hubert Hone Bancroft, The History 
Company, San Francisco, 1890. Vol. XXXI, p. 259. 

Also: letter. Millard H. McClung, Oregon Historical Society, to the 
writer, July 7, 1967. 

5. Bancroft, op. cit. 

Also: Joe Branstetter, manuscript, 'Discovery of the Boise Basin," Ban- 
croft Library. 

6. W. J. McConnell, "Idaho Inferno," Bancroft Library. 

Also: The Daily Oregonian (Portland), March 31, 1863, p. 1, col. 3. 

7. The Daily Oregonian, March 30, 1863, p. 1, col. 2. 

8. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 19, 1875, p. 2, col. 2. 

9. The largest account of the Standifer expedition of 1866 will be found 
in E. S. Topping's Chronicles of the Yellowstone, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1888. 

10. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 19, 1875, p. 2, col. 2, and also comment 
by Brevet Brigadier General William B. Hazen in his "Report of an Inspec- 


and went up the trail toward Fort C. F. Smith. Forty-two others 
headed down the trail toward Fort Philip Kearny. This larger 
group had a fight with the Sioux on Tongue River and lost two 
men. The remainder arrived at Fort Philip Kearny on September 
14, 1866. It was thus that John Phillips came to the new post on 
the Piney. 11 

Bailey's men found the post just under construction, with most 
of the garrison and a large number of civilian employees doing the 
actual building. Several civilian contractors were supplying hay, 
saw logs, and firewood. Some of the Bailey party hired out to the 
contractors as guards for their working parties, some worked as 
laborers for the contractors, and some hunted. Many of the men 
had some proceeds from their summer's mining, and were appar- 
ently prepared to winter at the fort in preparation for another sum- 
mer in the Big Horns. 1 - Robert Bailey was the first of this force to 
find employment with the government. Colonel Henry B. Carring- 
ton, commanding the post and the Mountain District, hired Bailey 
on November 6, 1866. as Post Guide and Mail Carrier at $10 per 
day. 13 He was hired due to the death of James J. Brennan, who 
had formerly filled that post. 14 Civilian pay records of the post 
show that John Phillips was not employed by the government pre- 
vious to the night of December 21, 1866. 15 If he worked at all in 
the interval between September 14 and December 21, 1866, it was 
for one of the contractors. He was not a "scout" 16 nor a quarter- 
master employee. He was just a prospector, wintering at the fort. 

The general story of Fort Philip Kearny that fall is large, gen- 

tion of Fort C. F. Smith,"' September, 1866, Letters Received in the Head- 
quarters, Department of the Platte, Record Group 98. National Archives. 

11. Topping, op. cit. 

Also: Letter Henry B. Carrington to Adjutant General, Department of the 
Platte, 5 November 1866, and comments by Canringion, both in Senate 
Executive Document #33, 50th Congress, 1st Session, pp. 20 and 23 re- 

12. For some interesting commentary of reminiscent nature on the 
activities of contractors' employees, miners, and others at the post during 
1866, see: John Bratt, Trails of Yesterday, University Press, Chicago, Illi- 
nois, and Lincoln, Nebraska, 1921. 

13. Report of Persons and Property Hired, Fort Philip Kearny, Record 
Group 92, National Archives. 

14. Special Orders Number 59, Headquarters, Fort Philip Kearny, No- 
vember 6, 1866, Record Group 98, National Archives. 

15. Report of Persons and Property Hired, Fort Philip Kearny, Record 
Group 92, National Archives. 

16. The writer particularly deplores the wide use of this term by many 
authors without definition. Actually a scout was by act of Congress, July 
28, 1866, defined as "an Indian, enlisted at the pay and allowances of a 
Cavalry soldier, . . ." There were many categories of civilian employees in 
the period, but only Indians were "scouts." 


erally well known, and need not be detailed here. 17 Colonel Car- 
rington's management problems and the steadily deteriorating rela- 
tionship with the Indians of the region came to a dramatic climax 
on December 21, 1866, when Captain William J. Fetterman and a 
force of eighty men were lured into an ambush and wiped out a few 
miles from the Fort. 18 

The destruction of Fetterman's party was a shock to the garrison, 
but they were clearly not in desperate straits. The well-known 
reluctance of the Indian to attack any sort of prepared position, 19 
along with the arrival of weather bad enough to send the Indians 
home to their relatively comfortable winter camps along Tongue 
River and other streams to the north, meant to any of the frontiers- 
men present that the post was not at all likely to be attacked. 20 
In any event, Carrington had eight officers, three-hundred and 
twenty enlisted men, one-hundred and nineteen male, civilian em- 
ployees of the government, 21 and at least fifty other men (miners, 
servants, post trader's employees and other hangers-on.) 2 '- They 
were armed with such weapons as the Springfield Rifle Musket, the 
Spencer Carbine, the Starr Carbine, and Colt and Remington re- 
volvers. 23 There were at hand two-hundred to three-hundred 

17. See: Margaret Carrinaton, Absaraka, Home of the Crows, Lippin- 
cott, Philadelphia, 1868. 

Dee Brown, Fort Phil Kearny, An American Saga, Putnam, New York, 

Robert A. Murray, Military Posts in the Powder River Country of 

Wyoming, 1865-1894, University of Nebraska Press, 1968. 

18. Ibid,, also J. W. Vaughn, Indian Fights, New Facts on Seven En- 
counters, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1965. 

19. It seems noteworthy that no real attack was recorded on any Regular 
Army post on the Northern Plains during the entire Indian wars period! 
General Hazen comments on this same situation up to 1866 in a "Report on 
an Inspection of Fort Reno," August, 1866, in the Letters Received in the 
Headquarters, Department of the Platte, Record Group 98. National Ar- 
chives. Only rarely, in fact, did the Indians attack troops in field positions. 

20. In addition to Bailey's mining party, Carrington had available the 
counsel of such experienced westerners as Jack Stead, one of his interpreters, 
along with several employees of the post trader. He had received some 
counseling in the matter from General Hazen as early as August of 1866 
but it is apparent that he did not believe Flazen in spite of the latter's 

21. Post Return, Fort Philip Kearny, for the month of December, 1866, 
Record Group 98, National Archives. 

Reports of Persons and Property Hired. Fort Philip Kearny, Record 
Group 92, National Archives. 

22. Letter, J. B. Weston, agent for A. J. Bottsford, Post Sutler, to Post 
Adjutant. Fort Philip Kearny, 14 December 1866, listing his employees. 

Also see Carrington in Senate Executive Document 33, op. cit. 

23. Any student of the Indian trade will recognize that any of these 
weapons are superior to the weapons generally in Indian hands in December 
of 1866. Most of the Indians in the force that overwhelmed Fetterman 
were armed with the bow and arrows and a lance. Some had the common 


rounds of ammunition per man.-* There was ample ammunition 
at hand for the Fort's four howitzers. 2 "' 

Carrington had frequently been criticized for failure to com- 
municate promptly with Department of the Platte Headquarters."-* 3 
He may have felt the shock effect of the news of the fight might get 
him the reenforcements he felt were needed in th Mountain District. 
He gave high priority to getting the news to Omaha and to Wash- 
ington. He hired two "citizen couriers" at 7 p.m. on December 
2 1 st, to take his messages to the telegraph line at Horseshoe Station 
in the North Platte Valley about 190 miles away. 27 These men 
were John Phillips and Daniel Dixon. Both were hired to make 
this one trip at $300 each, both made the trip, and both were paid 
in January of 1867. 2 * 

Only a handful of real facts are known about the trip itself. Car- 
rington may have insisted that the men leave separately, 29 but it is 
evident that they got together somewhere before arriving, in com- 
pany with still more men at Horseshoe Station. 30 They did stop, 

flintlock and percussion lock Northwest guns, and a relative handful bad 
breechloaders of one sort or another. See: George Bird Grinnell, Fighting 
Cheyennes, University of Oklahoma Press, 1955, pp. 242-244. Also Charles 
E. Hanson, Jr., The Northwest Gun, Nebraska Historical Society, 1956. 

24. An analysis of the correspondence on the receipt and expenditure of 
ammunition at the post reveals that Carrington much exaggerated his am- 
munition shortage, and that in fact he had more than the normal allowance 
per gun of all types of ammunition. 

25. Ibid. 

26. Brevet Brigadier General William B. Hazen, 'Report of An Inspec- 
tion of Fort Philip Kearny" August 29, 1 866, in Letters Received in the 
Department of the Platte, Record Group 98, National Archives. 

Also: Frequent exchanges between Cooke, Sherman and Litchfield and 
Carrington relative his communications, in Senate Executive Document 33, 
50th Congress, 1st Session and in Senate Executive Document 13, 40th Con- 
gress, 1st Session. 

27. Reports of Persons and Property Hired, Fort Philip Kearny, Decem- 
ber, 1866, and January, 1867. 

Also: Carrington, p. 44, Senate Executive Document 33, 50th Congress, 
1st Session. 

28. Reports of Persons and Property Hired, Fort Philip Kearny, Decem- 
ber, 1866, and January, 1867. 

29. John C. Brough is supposed to have told A. B. Ostrander in 1917 
that he witnessed Phillips' departure, alone. Ostrander tells this story in his 
book: An Army Boy of the Sixties, World Book Company, New York, 
1926. pp. 168-170. Ostrander had earlier passed along the story to Hebard 
and Brininstool, who included it in The Bozeman Trail, Arthur H. Clark Co., 
Glendale, California, 1960 (1st printing, 1922), V. II, pp. 15-38. 

30. There are several opinions on the arrival of Phillips' party at Horse- 
shoe Station. Hebard and Brininstool quote John C. Friend, the telegrapher 
as stating Phillips arrived with two men, "George Dillon" and a " 'Captain' 
Bailey." (The Bozeman Trail, op. cit., p. 21). They also repeat Dan Mc- 
Ulvane's statement that Phillips rode in with four other men, which first 
appeared in C. G Coutant, History of Wyoming, 1899, p. 578. John Hun- 
ton reported in 1919 to Dr. Hebard that Phillips had told him he made the 


perhaps for as much as 10 hours, 31 at Fort Reno, where Lt. Col. 
Henry W. Wessells gave Phillips an additional message to be car- 
ried to Colonel I. N. Palmer, commanding Fort Laramie. 32 They 
probably made one camp en route in the Cheyenne River country, 
and made their next comfortable stop at Bridger's Ferry, where a 
small force guarded the river crossing. 33 They arrived at Horse- 
shoe Station about 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. 34 Here Carrington's 
dispatches were sent to Omaha and to Washington without signifi- 
cant delay. 35 Phillips still had Wessells' message to Palmer to 
deliver, so after a rest at Horseshoe, he proceeded on the remaining 
forty miles to Fort Laramie, arriving about eleven p.m. that same 
evening. 36 Upon arrival, Phillips went through the usual channels 
for a night-arriving messenger, and was at length taken to see 
Colonel Palmer. The small contingent of officers stationed at the 
post, and their handful of ladies were holding a party in one of the 
rooms of "Old Bedlam," probably the multipurpose room adjacent 
to Palmers office. Palmer soon afterward said: 

trip with: "... a sergeant, a man named Gregory, and one other man, 
whose name I do not remember." (In The Frontier, V. II, 1931, p. 176). 
The writer believes that Friend may have confused "Dillon" with Dixon, 
since there is no evidence that Dixon ever again passed that way, and since 
a man named Dillon did later serve as a mail carrier from Fort Philip 
Kearny to Bridger's Ferry. There are several Dillons on the payroll for the 
period at Fort Philip Kearny, but no "George Dillon." The only "Gregory" 
appearing in the record at Fort Philip Kearny was sawmill-engineer J. B. 

31. Ostrander, op. cit. builds a rather thin case for Phillips arriving and 
departing alone from Fort Reno, but his timing of these movements does not 
seem to check with the departure and arrival times at other points. Sergeant 
Milo Tanner told Mr. Burton S. Hill of Buffalo, Wyoming, that Phillips 
arrived at about daylight on the 22nd, and departed after retreat that night, 
which seems more reasonable. Both of these statements of course are rem- 
iniscences of more than fifty years after the event. 

32. Carrington, Senate Executive Document 33, 50th Congress, 1st Ses- 
sion, p. 44. Ca.rrington seems confused over the telegraphing sequence, but 
Colonel I. N. Palmer's statements (see below) clear this up, along with the 
actual copies of the telegrams on file in the records of the Department of 
the Platte. 

33. Bridger's Ferry usually had about a company stationed to protect the 
cable ferry. The buildings were erected on the north side of the North 
Platte River, south of present Orin Junction, and west of the present "Raw- 
hide Rock Shop." The station operated as a subpost of Fort Laramie, and 
its correspondence files have not been located in the National Archives. 

34. John C. Friend, in The Bozeman Trail, op. cit. 

35. Ibid. See also 32 above. 

36. Letter, I. N. Palmer to Major General C. C. Augur, February 2, 
1867, Fort Laramie Letters Sent. Record Group 98, National Archives. 

Brigadier General David S. Gordon, (retired), "The Relief of Fort Phil 
Kearny," in Journal of the Military Service Institutions of the U.S., Vol. 49, 
1911, pp. 281-284. 


In the evening a few ladies and officers assembled to dance, but the 
news of the Massacre at Fort Kearny came in during the evening, and 
this created such a gloom over ail that the dancing party dispersed 
early. 37 

Palmer must have kept the copy of Wessells' message himself, 
for it does not appear in the file of Fort Laramie Letters Received. 
Based upon it, and upon information received from Phillips, how- 
ever, Palmer sent the following telegram to General Philip St. 
George Cooke in Omaha on the morning of December 26th: 

On the twenty-second at Phil Kearny a party of three officers and 
forty-five Infantry and thirty-nine Cavalry went out either by order 
or permission of Col. Carrington to attack a body of Indians. They 
had orders I understand not to go beyond a point two or three miles 
from the Post they went further, were attacked by a large body of 
Indians and every man of the party killed. 

The officers killed are Bvt. Col. Fetterman, Capt. Brown and Lt. 
Grummond, my dispatch is from Wessells and particulars I get from 
messenger who brings dispatch — Col. Carrington sends nothing to me, 
but Wessells begs for reenforcements. Three or four companies can 
be spared from here and if Van Voast can have a command would it 
not be better for him to go? He would go very unwillingly if he is 
obliged to be under Col. C. If many troops from here go would it 
not be well to send temporarily to this place one or two of the Com- 
panies from McPherson and one from Segwick? 38 

Cooke immediately changed certain scheduled troop movements 
and ordered reenforcements sent to both Fort Reno and Fort Philip 
Kearny. 90 This force set out from Fort Laramie on January 3d, 
1867, reaching Fort Reno on January 11th, and Fort Philip Kearny 
on January 16th. 40 During these weeks there was no further 
Indian activity, and in fact there was none until spring. 41 The 
troops arrived, not in fact as rescuers, but as a logistic burden upon 
the garrison. 42 

These are the really basic facts, drawn from the most reliable 

37. Palmer to Augur, op. cit. 

38. Telegram, Colonel Innis N. Palmer, commanding Fort Laramie, to 
General Philip St. George Cooke, Headquarters, Department of the Platte. 
December 26, 1866. Letters Received in the Headquarters, Department of 
the Platte, Record Group 98, National Archives. 

39. Telegram, Cooke to Chief of Staff, December 26, 1866. Special 
Orders #126, Headquarters, Department of the Platte, 26 December 1866. 

40. Gordon, op. cit., pp. 282-283. 

Also: "Journal of March" for this column of troops, Letters Received. 
Headquarters, Department of the Platte, Record Group 98, National Ar- 

41. Post Returns for Fort Philip Kearny, March, April, May, 1867, 
Record Group 98, National Archives. 

42. The "reinforcements" carried only sufficient rations and forage for 
the trip. The suffering of the garrison on short rations is most graphically 
described by private William Murphy, "The Forgotten Battalion," Annals of 
Wyoming, Vol. 7, No. 2, October, 1930, pp. 383-401. 


surviving source materials. There is no indication that anyone at 
the time thought that the long, cold ride to Horseshoe was anything 
but just that. Neither Dixon nor Phillips attracted much attention 
nor did they seek it. Dixon disappears from the post records in 
the spring of 1867. Not one trace of his further movements has 
been uncovered in an extensive search. Phillips remained at Fort 
Philip Kearny, and eventually built a cabin outside the stockade 
as did a number of other civilians. 43 He held a position as 
mail carrier for the Quartermaster Department from February 6th 
through February 28th, 1867, at the wage of $10 per day. He drew 
this pay at the end of his employment. 44 During this period he 
made one trip to Bridger's Ferry and back with the mail, escorted 
by a sergeant and eleven men of Company L, 2nd Cavalry. 45 He 
appears to have been irregularly employed by contractors after that 
time, and perhaps was a subcontractor for saw logs himself. 46 

With the abandonment of Fort Philip Kearny in the summer of 
1 868, Phillips moved to the Elk Mountain area, where he supplied 
ties to the Union Pacific Railway. He married there in 1869. 47 

It appears that he joined Jefferson Standifer in another prospect- 
ing venture in the summer of 1869 in the Wind River Country. 
Their party had a fight with the Indians on August 21, 1869 near 
Bull Lake. 4 * 

Phillips then made contracting of government supplies and 
transportation for the posts of Fort Laramie and Fort Fetterman 
his major business from 1869-1878. He and his wife appear as 
residents at Fort Laramie on the 1870 census. 49 He soon estab- 
lished a ranch on Chugwater Creek as a base for these operations, 
and it also served as a "road ranch'' and as headquarters for a 
small grazing operation on adjacent range. 50 In the spring of 

43. Hebard and Brininstool show the locations of several of these cabins 
in the Samuel Gibson drawing reproduced on p. 287, Vol. 1, The Bozeman 
Trail. The record of civilians residing at the post in its closing months indi- 
cates that quite a number of persons resided outside the stockade. 

44. Report of Persons and Property Hired, Fort Philip Kearny, February, 
1867. Record Group 92, National Archives. 

45. Special Orders #28, Headquarters, Fort Philip Kearny, February 5, 
1867. Record Group 98, National Archives. 

46. List of Citizens and How Employed, Fort Philip Kearny, Record 
Group 98, National Archives. 

Also: Statement by Samuel S. Gibson in "The Wagon Box Fight," The 
Bozeman Trail, Vol. II, p. 46. 

47. Letter John Hunton to Grace Hebard, in The Frontier, Vol. II, 1931, 
p. 176. 

48. C. G. Coutant, History of Wyoming, page 664. 

49. U. S. Census Schedule for Fort Laramie, 1870. 

50. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 3, 1875, Sept. 20, 1875, July 1, 


1876, Phillips built a hotel there to handle the increased demands 
of travelers attendant to the Black Hills gold rush."' 1 

During his contracting years, Phillips had one additional sig- 
nificant brush with the Indians. He reported that on October 6, 
1872, near Little Box Elder Canyon, a band of several dozen 
Indians ran off seventeen work cattle, seven mules and four horses, 
valued at $2,636.50. He may have lumped these together with 
other miscellaneous stock losses in filing a routine Indian depre- 
dations claim in 1873." 1 - There is no reason to believe that these 
were other than more of the sporadic raids on stock suffered in this 
same period by contractors, freighters, and settlers in that area! 

Phillips sold his ranch holdings in the fall of 1878, and moved 
to Cheyenne,"' 3 where he lived until his death on November 18, 
1883."' 4 A Portuguese source claims he visited his home in the 
Azores in the period around 1880-1882, but this is not well 
documented. 55 

The earliest mention of Phillips' ride in print appears to be that 
in the Cheyenne Daily Leader of February 3, 1875, when discuss- 
ing Phillips as a potential source of information on the Big Horn 

Mr. Phillips is possessed of more real substantial information regard- 
ing the Big Horn Country than any man in Wyoming. He was em- 
ployed at Fort Phil Kearney at the time of the massacre of Col. Fet- 
terman and his ninety-six companions by Red Cloud in 1866, and was 
the only man at the Fort that could be prevailed upon to ride through 
the country to Fort Laramie for relief. This he did, pursued most of 
the way by the murderous savages, carrying dispatches from Col. 
Carrington, . . . , 56 

The next mention is in the eulogy by a committee of the Old 
Pioneers of Wyoming on the occasion of Phillips' death: 

It is but fitting and proper that the Old Pioneers of Wyoming 

should attest to and pay a last tribute of respect to the memory of the 
hero, who rode a nobler ride than did Sheridan at Winchester, nearly 
twenty years ago, from Fort Phil Kearney to Fort Fetterman and Sub- 
sequently to Fort Laramie, to obtain assistance to rescue the brave 
Colonel Fetterman and his gallant band of eighty-four men, who fell 
at the hands of the hostile red men at the Phil Kearney massacre in 
1866, in which ride he took his life in his hands; and companionless 

51. Cheyenne, Daily Leader, March 11, 1876, May 14, 1876. 

52. Claim #1147, Indian Depredations Claims, House Executive Docu- 
ment # 125, 49th Congress, 1st Session. 

Also: Indian Depredation Claim #4566 (this is Court-of -Claims num- 
ber of the same claim listed above) Record Group 205, National Archives. 

53. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 16, 1878, November 22, 1878. 

54. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 21, 1883. 

55. Ermelindo Avila, op. cit. 

56. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 3, 1875. 


and alone made his solitary way through bands of hostile Indians, 
that the lives of these brave men might not be sacrificed. 57 

This error-packed eulogy has been used on occasion by historians 
as prime source material! r,s 

The story did not reappear for years, and might have languished 
further, had not Mrs. Hattie Phillips attempted to reopen the old 
Indian depredations claim in 1891. 39 Among other things submit- 
ted in support of the claim were depositions by Colonel Carrington 
and his second wife, Frances Courtney Grummond Carrington 60 
taken in 1 894. The Court of Claims dismissed this case on May 4, 
1896.* !1 Mrs. Phillips sought political assistance, and found ready 
support from Senator F. E. Warren and Congressman Frank Mon- 
dell. She apparently anticipated the dismissal of her claim, for 
Mondell introduced a special bill in her favor in December of 
1895."- Committee reports drew heavily upon the Carrington de- 
positions and further embellished the story with a mixture of 
legend, fabrication and half-truth. 6:: Colonel Carrington's deposi- 
tion is contradicted on many facts and interpretive points by the 
post records, by his own statements in correspondence and reports, 
and by an abundance of other data. 04 Mrs. Carrington's deposition 
displays that same flair for the romantic that characterizes her later 
writings. 6 "' It is in her deposition that she first mentions the "wolf- 
robe presentation" scene which figures prominently in later publi- 
cations. 66 It seems particularly important that the student view 
these two depositions for what they really were: that is, as sub- 
jective support for the claims of a poor widow for assistance! Only 
this and the passage of twenty-seven years can account for their 
departure from fact! A version of the bill finally passed, and Mrs. 
Phillips received $5,000 under its provisions in July of 1900. 67 

Possibly attracted by the then current publicity over the special 

57. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 21, 1883. 

58. Hebard and Brininstool, The Bozeman Trail, op. cit. 

59. Petition of Hattie Phillips, Administratrix, Estate of John Phillips, 
September 5, 1891, RG 205, National Archives. 

60. House Report No. 1913, 54th Congress, 1st Session. 

61. Letter John Randolph, Assistant Clerk, Court of Claims to Charles 
N. Brumm, Chairman, Committee on Claims, House of Representatives, 
May 6, 1896. 

62. H. R. 1047, 54th Congress, 1st Session. 

63. House Report No. 1913, 54th Congress, 1st Session. 

64. Note particularly Carrington's wild statements about the lack of 
habitations along the route, about Phillips being the sole messenger, and 
about the burning of the telegraph station. 

65. Frances Courtney Grummond Carrington, My Army Life, Lippin- 
cott, Philadelphia, 1910. 

66. Ibid. 

67. War Settlement Warrants, No. 83 and No. 84. Records of the United 
States General Accounting Office, Record Group 217, National Archives. 


bill, C. G. Coutant mentions the story in his pioneer work on Wyo- 
ming, published in 1899. Coutant draws from the Carrington 
depositions, and from statements of witnesses to Phillips' arrival at 
Horseshoe Station, whom he interviewed. Without citing a source, 
Coutant introduces the story of Phillips borrowing "a beautiful 
thoroughbred belonging to Colonel Carrington.'' 08 

Again the growing legend lies dormant for a number of years, to 
re-appear in 1910 in the writings of Frances Carrington, still further 
expanded by her certainly romantic and perhaps constructive mem- 
ory, and citing as authority her own and the Colonel's depositions 
of sixteen years before. She also repeats the story about the selec- 
tion of the horse, using nearly the same words as Coutant. <!! * 

The following year Brigadier General David S. Gordon, U.S.A. 
(Retired) published a brief reminiscent article based on his service 
with Company D, 2nd Cavalry in 1866-1 868. The portion directly 
pertinent to Phillips' ride is: 

It was on Christmas Night, 11 P.M., in the year 1866, when a full- 
dress garrison ball was progressing and everybody appeared superla- 
tively happy, enjoying the dance, notwithstanding the snow was from 
ten to fifteen inches deep on the level and the thermometer indicated 
twenty-five degrees below zero, when a huge form dressed in buffalo 
overcoat, pants, gauntlets and cap. accompanied by an orderly, desired 
to see the commanding officer. The dress of the man, and at this hour 
looking for the commanding officer, made a deep impression upon the 
officers and others that happened to get a glimpse of him, and conse- 
quently, and naturally, too, excited their curiosity as to his mission in 
this strange garb, dropping into our full-dress garrison ball at this 
unseasonable hour. . . . 70 

Gordon goes on to describe how he was soon called from the room 
and told the news by Colonel Palmer, and how in early January 
his company marched as part of the reenforcements to the posts 
up country. 71 

It is in the following two decades that the shift from history into 
legend moves into a more rapid pace. Pioneers in this rush to 
capitalize on the Phillips story were newsman E. A. Brininstool and 
Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard of the University of Wyoming. To 
their credit, they did gather a highly useful assembly of reminiscent 
material on the history of the Powder River Country. They pre- 
served much of this material unedited in their book The Bozeman 
Trail, which first appeared in 1922. 72 It must always be remem- 
bered, though, that most of these reminiscences were collected some 
fifty or more years after the events reported upon, and thus they 

68. Coutant, p. 577. 

69. Frances C. G. Carrington, My Army Life, p. 150. 

70. Gordon, op. cit. 

71. Ibid. 

72. Hebard and Brininstool, The Bozeman Trail, Arthur H. Clark Co., 
Glendale, California, (reprint edition, 1960). 


bear checking against the best documentary sources and early 
accounts. Jt is also quite evident throughout that neither of these 
authors had a really coherent understanding of the historic context 
in which the Bozeman Trail posts functioned. Nor did they have 
the slightest understanding of the role of the Indian, particularly 
as to the nature of his warfare. 73 Within these limitations, their 
story is a fair summary of the conventional local view of the pre- 
viously published accounts of the ride. They depended primarily 
upon the Carrington depositions, the eulogy, the material gathered 
by Coutant, and upon certain communications with John C. Friend 
and A. B. Ostrander. Ostrander, once a soldier at Fort Reno, 
supplemented his own meager data on the Phillips story with the 
tale of John C. Brough, a Fort Philip Kearny veteran. Brough's 
story was told to Ostrander over drinks one evening at the National 
Encampment of the G.A.R. in 19 17! 74 Ostrander later used this 
material in writings of his own. 7 " 

E. A. Brininstool launched the Phillips tale, along with a number 
of others in fictionalized form for the first time in 1926, in his book 
Fighting Indian Warriors™ Virtually all of the host of fictional 
accounts of the ride draw primarily upon the Brininstool fictional- 
ization, just as few historians have gone further than The Bozeman 
Trail in search of material to incorporate in general histories of the 
region. Strangely, Hebard and Brininstool ignored what was per- 
haps one of their best potential sources on Phillips. John Hunton 
knew Phillips very well. He first met Phillips in late 1867. Over 
the years from about 1870 until 1878, the two were frequent 
associates, close neighbors, and had numerous business dealings. 
When consulted by Dr. Hebard in 1919, Hunton had this to say: 

That on that night, he, a Sergeant, a man named Gregory, and one 
other man, whose name I do not remember, left Fort Phil Kearny, all 
well mounted and arrived at Fort Laramie on (I think) Christmas 
night. He received, I think, $1,000 for making the trip. 77 

They did not use this material in their book directly, even though it 
provided direct support for the comment they quote from Coutant, 
based on his interview with Dan McUlvane. 78 McUlvane also knew 

73. For the writer's views in full on these points, see his: Military Posts 
in the Powder River Country of Wyoming, 1865-1894, University of Ne- 
braska Press, 1968. 

74. Hebard and Brininstool, The Bozeman Trail, Vol. II, pp. 33-35. 

75. Alson B. Ostrander, op. cit. pp. 168-169. 

Alson B. Ostrander, After Sixty Years, Ostrander, Seattle, 1925. 

76. E. A. Brininstool, Fightitig Indian Warriors, Harrisburg, Pa., 1953. 

77. Hunton to Hebard, op. cit. 

78. The frequent association of Hunton and Phillips is well documented 
in the John Hunton Diaries, Arthur H. Clark Co., Glendale, California. 


Phillips, and resided at Fort Laramie at the same period Phillips 
did. 79 

Subsequent publications of the Phillips story confirm indeed that 
"The tales grew taller wi' the tellin'." As history merges into myth, 
Phillips has a more and more difficult time making his way across 
the snowcovered landscape. Some writers have him pursued by 
hostiles. The only early mention of this appears as filler in the 
first Cheyenne Daily Leader version of the story. 80 It is not men- 
tioned again until the Coutant version (perhaps based upon the 
Daily Leader statement) appeared. 81 Then, still later still another 
version of this complication was told by "Captain" James Cook, 
trailherd cowboy turned storyteller, to Dr. Hebard. 8 - Cook came 
to the region as a young cowboy in the same year that Phillips 
retired to Cheyenne. 83 This writer doubts both Cook's claimed 
close association with Phillips, and the veracity of the single inci- 
dent he describes. Later writers have welded these apocryphal 
fragments into a determined pursuit by the hostiles. It is certainly 
possible that Phillips may have met or have seen some of the 
Indians who habitually wintered along the North Platte, but it 
seems wholly irrational to suppose that he was pursued from the 
Fort Phil Kearny area by hostile Indians. The hostiles, like Lord 
Howe, had much better ways to spend foul weather. 

Another late-blooming element in the myth is that of the "Colo- 
nel's Horse," first mentioned by Coutant in 1899, then by Frances 
Carrington in 1910. The horse story was reenforced by one writer 
who depended upon a statement by George Lathrop, and alleged 
that Lathrop was a quartermaster employee at the post at that time. 
The post records show that Lathrop was not so employed. 84 

There is considerable variance as to what horse is supposed to 
have been used. Neither Henry nor Margaret Carrington say a 
word about this in their early writings. James Carrington said in 
1921 that his father's favorite horse died of bad water and poor 
forage between Brown's Springs and Powder River in June of 1866. 
Frances Carrington asserts that Colonel Carrington rode his horse 
"Gray Eagle," when out to recover the dead on the 22nd of De- 
cember, the day following Phillips departure! Neither Palmer nor 
Gordon nor any other really competent witness left any contempor- 
ary description of the manner of Phillips arrival at the post of Fort 

79. U. S. Census Schedules, Fort Laramie, 1870. 

80. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 3, 1875. 

81. Coutant, op. cit., pp. 577-578. 

82. Hebard and Brininstool, op. cit., pp. 22-23. 

83. Cook's arrival in Cheyenne area is documented only by his own book, 
Fifty Years on the Old Frontier, University of Nebraska Press, 1957. 

84. Report of Persons and Property Hired, Fort Philip Kearny, Record 
Group 92, National Archives. 


Laramie, nor the condition of his mount on arrival. Certainly 
nothing was extraordinary enough to attract their attention. 

Hebard and Brininstool, in both The Bozeman Trail and Fight- 
ing Indian Warriors, assert without source that the horse died on 
arrival at Fort Laramie. 85 Many later writers have drawn seem- 
ingly from the generic mythology of the horse to pad their accounts 
and to glorify this mythical mount to poetic heights. 

This writer is inclined to give an experienced westerner such as 
Phillips credit with enough sense to take more than one horse on 
an errand such as this, and to change horses at Fort Reno, Bridger's 
Ferry, and Horseshoe Station. An assortment of experienced horse- 
men consulted in the matter agree. Russell Thorp, close to the 
Phillips family for years, stated that he believed Phillips or any 
other experienced westerner would not have chosen a thoroughbred 
for a trip in such terrain and such weather. 86 

Phillips himself, as the process of fictionalization goes on, tran- 
scends being just a hardy, determined westerner, and grades toward 
the same impossible, mythical being that the same caliber of writers 
have made of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Kit Carson and many 
other frontier figures. Many of the same elements pervade the 
fictionalized versions of the Phillips story. A beseiged garrison, the 
daring flight for help, pursuit (and sometimes capture) by the hos- 
tiles, daring escapes, leaps for life, Indians slain, and complex 
revenge stories can all be found in tales about Phillips. 87 Almost 
every winter some enterprising fiction writer reworks the conven- 
tional and easily available body of fact and fiction into another 
romantic rehash and serves it up to the unsuspecting beginning 
reader of Western Americana. 88 

85. Hebard and Brininstool, op. cit., p. 24. 

86. Notes on an interview of Russell Thorp, taken by Miss Clarice Whit- 
tenburg, University of Wyoming. 

87. The reader will find Kent Ladd Steckmesser's book: The Western 
Hero in History and Legend most useful in examining the myth-making 
process in the West. It was published by University of Oklahoma Press in 

Nicholas J. Karolides, The Pioneer in the American Novel, University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1967, is another useful study of fictionalization and myth- 

88. It does not seem profitable to assemble here a detailed bibliography 
of the fiction, fictionalized "history," erroneous signs and markers, and the 
like that have helped to perpetuate the Phillips legends and expand them, for 
virtually every reader will have encountered many of them. A few recent 
examples seem worth mention for particular reasons, however: 

Francis A. Barrett, "The Greatest Ride in Wyoming History," Annals of 
Wyoming, Vol. 38, No. 2, October, 1966: Barrett presents one of the more 
careful summaries of the conventional tales in in this paper. He seems to 
lack the healthy skepticism necessary to this kind of research, however, and 
hence follows the general "party line" of the developing legend for the most 
part. He preserves intact such errors as Phillips taking "oats" for forage for 


Even the best historical accounts of Phillips' ride tend to focus 
their attention upon Phillips' heroism as evidenced by this one 
event. In so doing they overlook the whole range of activities in 

his mount (when the record shows only corn on hand at Fort Philip Kearny; 
he misquotes this writer relative the transmission of Carrington's messages; 
and he preserves uncritically the tale of Phillips' collapse at Fort Laramie, 
only guardedly questions the death of the horse, and apparently assumes 
Phillips rode the same horse all the way. He has swallowed the Herman 
Haas story whole, including the designation of Haas as "Lieutenant Herman 
Haas, Officer of the Guard," when quick reference to Heitman would have 
revealed that no one of that name held a commission in the Regular Army 
between the years 1789 and 1903! With all these minor points, however, 
Barrett's work is the best of the assemblies of material on the subject in 
recent journals. 

Once one goes beyond Frank Barrett's article, he encounters real fiction, 
and even the reputable journals have been taken in: Edward M. Sterling, 
"The Winter Ride of Portugee Phillips," Montana, Vol. 15, No. 1, January, 
1965: Sterling gives no evidence of going beyond Hebard and Brininstool's 
writings and seems to use these as a point of departure for his highly de- 
scriptive pen. Only his imagination could have supplied the details he gives 
of the ride. Fortunately the magazine's editor supplies several cautionary 
remarks at critical points. 

Another imaginative fictionalized account is that of Dabney Otis Collins. 
His chapter: "Massacre Messenger," in his book Great Western Rides, 
Sage Books, Denver, 1961, includes all the old-standard themes, plus manu- 
factured conversation and a reading of the thoughts of many participants. 
It is a well-constructed story, but it cannot be termed history. 

Stepping down to the pulp "true historical," class of publication, one 
departs into fantasy. Some of these recent articles are: 

Fred Harrison, "Portugee Phillips' Incredible Midnight Ride," in 

Golden West vol. 1, #1, November, 1964. 
Robert Minton, "3,000 Sioux Barred His Way," True Western Adven- 
tures, vol. 4, # 18, February, 1960. 
Samuel Stanley, "The Miracle Ride of Portugee Phillips," Pen, Sep- 
tember, 1957. 
The most incredible of all is: 

Valdon McCready: "Truth About Portugee Philips' Ride," Real West, 
vol. 4, #15, January, 1961. 
Despite his title, McCready makes well over eighty clear cut errors of fact 
in less than five pages of text! He has not only manufactured conversation 
and thought, but has introduced purely imaginary personalities and events 
whenever convenient. 

Another specialized piece of fiction has had wide circulation in the 

A. M. Anderson, Portugee Phillips and the Fighting Sioux, Wheeler 
Publishing Company, Chicago, 1956. This is one of that company's 
"American Adventure Series," designed for use in remedial reading 
programs. It seems regrettable that the author found it necessary 
to so distort a number of aspects of frontier history to create pala- 
table reading for the student. While this work may contribute to 
the student's reading skills, it is likely to build in more historical 
misconceptions than many years of good history teaching can 


which his tenacity and courage are displayed. They overlook the 
determination and the achievements through which this immigrant 
boy came thousands of miles to a strange, new land, acculturated 
himself rapidly in the turbulent life of the mining camps and 
became a successful prospector. They overlook the fact that as 
times changed, he worked hard, handled his money well and be- 
came successful in supply contracting, in the transportation busi- 
ness, in ranching, and in the accommodations business, and that he 
was settled as a quiet and respectable citizen of Cheyenne when 
just entering middle age. In these accomplishments he is typical 
of the best of westerners, and may be rated as one of the many, 
who with great disadvantages and limited resources helped to 
build the West. In this life lies John "Portugee" Phillips' real 
heroism and his greater accomplishment. 

Special Acknowlegement 

No work of critical analysis can be a one-man product, but rather must 
be the end product of a lot of thinking and even more of stimulating analyt- 
ical discussion. A lot of people far and near have kept the writer thinking 
and working on the John Phillips story for three years and more. Some of 
those who deserve special thanks are: historians John D. McDermott, Paul 
Henderson, Gordon Chappell, Glenn Burkes, Katherine Halverson, and 
Burton S. Hill; horsemen Tom Tisdale, Charlie Baker, and the late Jay 
Hejde; translator Jacqueline Logan; philosopher Charlie Sharp; along with 
the personnel of the Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, 
the Montana Historical Society, the Oregon Historical Society, the Bancroft 
Library, Yale University Libraries, the National Archives, and certainly not 
least, the Honorable Antonio de Freitas Pimentel, Governor of the Auton- 
omous District of Horta, Azores, Portugal. 

Populism in Wyoming 


David B. Griffiths 

part I 

POPULIST PARTY. 1890-1892 

The social and economic institutions of Wyoming were unique 
among the far western states. Wyoming's development as a cattle 
commonwealth in which crop farming and mining were subordinate 
enterprises gave a different form to Wyoming Populism than was 
found in both the Rocky Mountain mining states and the coastal 
states. In July of 1868, Wyoming Territory was formed from the 
southwestern portion of Dakota, northeastern part of Utah, and 
the eastern part of Idaho. It was admitted to the Union on July 
10, 1890, the 44th state and the first to enter with equal suffrage. 

The development of the territory and the state was part of the 
settlement of the last great frontier, the Great Plains. This area 
lying west of the 98th meridian was characterized by insufficient 
rainfall, high evaporation, and a semi-arid climate, in which agri- 
culture could be practiced only by irrigation. The largely treeless 
and flat terrain was covered by grass that made an ideal winter and 
summer feed for livestock. Consonant with economic environ- 
ment, Wyoming became the center of the cattle range industry in 
the United States. 1 

In 1873 the stock companies formed the Wyoming Stock Grow- 
ers' Association, first called the Stock Association of Laramie 
County, which dominated the political and legislative life of the 
period. Leading men in the territorial government were associated 
with the stock interests and there was a close association between 
the stock association and the legislature. In the midwest in the 
1880's, farmers complained of transportation monopolies and high 
interest rates, but in Wyoming agrarian reform took the form of 
opposition to the large cattle interests. The opposition to the stock 

1. George W. Rollins, "The Struggle of The Cattleman, Sheepman and 
Settler for Control of Lands in Wyoming, 1867-1910" (Ph. D., Univ. of 
Utah, 1951), p. ii, 11-12; Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains (Chicago, 
1931). For the range cattle industry, see Edward E. Dale, The Range Cattle 
Industry (Norman, Oklahoma, 1930); Louis Pelzer, The Cattlemen's Fron- 
tier (Glendale, California, 1936); and Ernest S. Osgood, The Day of The 
Cattleman (Minneapolis, 1954). 


companies was intensified by the investment in the industry made 
by English and Scotch speculators. Agrarian reformers attempted 
to block the acquisition of public lands by foreign speculators who 
were accused of subverting the Homestead system. 2 

"The wealth, the power, and the size of the Stockgrowers' Asso- 
ciation excited the animosity of the homesteader, who felt that he 
was bucking big business out on the plains." 3 Opposition to the 
large stock growers became organizationally embodied in the Wyo- 
ming Farmers' Alliance. The Farmers' Alliance made its first 
appearance in the northeastern county of Crook in the summer of 
1 890. A year later an unsuccessful attempt was made to organize 
an Alliance Club in Johnson County. By January of 1891 Alli- 
ance Clubs were reportedly formed in six other places in the state, 
including the towns of Lander in Fremont County and Tie Siding 
in Albany County. 4 

The information now available on Wyoming does not establish 
precise connections in personnel, organization and policy between 
the Alliance and the first Populist clubs. The platform of the first 
Populist organization, formed in Laramie in January of 1891, did 
not reflect Granger opposition to the stock syndicate. The Lara- 
mie platform had two resolutions not contained in the St. Louis 
demands of 1889;"* one was a demand for the direct issue of money 
to the people by the government and the other a statement approv- 
ing an income tax exempting all incomes under one thousand dol- 
lars. Moreover, Henry Breitenstein, one of the framers of the 
platform and the subsequent ideological leader of the Wyoming 
Populists, was identified with the Knights of Labor and not with 
the agrarian movement. 

2. W. Turrentine Jackson, "The Wyoming Stock Growers' Association 
Political Power in Wyoming Territory," Annals of Wyoming, (Jan. 1948), 
pp. 61-83; Osgood, op. cit., p. 235; Roger V. Clements, "British Investment 
and American Legislative Restrictions in The Trans-Mississippi West, 1880- 
1900," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XLII (Sept. 1955), pp. 207-228; 
Clements, "British Controlled Enterprise in The West between 1870-1900, 
and Some Agrarian Reactions," Agricultural History, XXVII (Oct. 1953), 
pp. 132-141; Jackson, "The Administration of Thomas Moonlight, 1887- 
1889, Wyoming's Time of Trouble," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 18, No. 2, 
(July 1946), pp. 139-162; Dale, op. cit., pp. 179-183; David M. Emmons, 
"Moreton Frewen and The Populist Revolt," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 35, 
No. 2, (Oct. 1963), pp. 155-169; a British capitalist and aristocrat, Frewen 
was "a compendium of the most odious type of alien land owner," (p. 160); 
later he became a silverite and exhibited a rhetorical anti-semitism, inter- 
esting attitudes for a British capitalist. 

3. Robert G. Athearn, High Country Empire (New York, 1960), p. 144. 

4. Thomas Krueger. "Populism in Wyoming," (M. A., Univ. of Wyo- 
ming, 1960), pp. 10-11. 

5. For the St. Louis demands, see John D. Hicks, The Populist Revolt 
Minneapolis, 1931), Appendix A. pp. 427-428; the text of the Laramie plat- 
form is in Krueger, op. cit., pp. 72-73. 


Breitenstein was born in St. Louis and worked for the railroads 
in the Union arsenal during the Civil War. He moved to Laramie 
in 1884, where he worked for the Union Pacific. An ex-Democrat, 
he was the executive of the Laramie Knights of Labor during the 
1890's. Influenced by ideas associated with the 18th century 
Enlightenment and Jacksonian economic and political theory, he 
maintained that labor was the true source of wealth and that bond- 
holders, bankers and speculators "were ticks that fattened on the 
body of the laboring honey bee." Also, he thought that the original 
sovereignty of the American people had been subverted by a 
"'money power" conspiracy, that the American people had been 
sovereign as "they obtained the right to govern themselves from 
nature . . . because they had the strength to do so . . ." but that the 
moneyed interests of the country had stolen the government from 
the people. 

His campaign oratory was more dramatic and intense than many 
Populists in the use of the class conflict image: 

Our civilization ... is the civilization of the wood tick and the honey 
bee. The wood tick sucks, but it creates nothing ... It is the bloated 
plutocrat of the woods. . . The people must once again unite to bring 
about a higher civilization, one that means death to the ticks and fair 
play to the bees. 7 

But like Populists generally, Breitenstein could not accept the Jack- 
sonian dictum about the value of limited government, and thought 
that the federal government alone had the power to shackle the 
money power. He thought that legislation in the interest of the 
people was necessary to curb the privileged position that private 
vested interests had acquired. 

Breitenstein attended the Cincinnati National Union Convention 
in May, 1891, and the St. Louis Convention in February, 1892. 
But during this period the Wyoming party was still focused on 
national issues, the need for currency reform, the stagnation of the 
two major parties, the need for government ownership or control 
of the railroads, and the like. The party nevertheless was making 
steady but slow progress, and by the summer of 1891 it had a state 
central committee, chaired by H. D. Merritt, and party clubs exist- 
ed in Dana, Rawlins, Rock Springs and Green River. 

The party was becoming active in local politics, and it put up a 
full slate of candidates in the Laramie municipal elections of 1891, 
winning several seats on the city council. 8 In the next Laramie city 

6. Ibid., pp. 5-6. For Jacksonian social-economic thought, see Joseph 
L. Blau (ed.), Social Theories of Jacksonian Democracy (New York, 1954). 

7. Quoted in T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming (Lincoln, 1965). Ibis 
is an excellent state history; its account of Populism draws on Krueger's 

8. Krueger, op. cit., pp. 12-13. 


election the Populists nominated a full ticket and called for the end 
of gambling, restriction of the liquor traffic, and stressed the duty 
of public service. However, they came in a poor third. 9 

The Wyoming Populists continued to prepare for the elections of 
1 892 but they did not find a politically useful state issue until the 
Johnson County War, "the most notorious event in the history of 
Wyoming." 10 This incident, a dramatic climax in the struggle be- 
tween the cattle barons and the small settlers, gave the Populists the 
political issue that they needed to become a relevant political party. 
The Populist espousal of the side of the small settler and their 
condemnation of the Republican state administration and the 
cattle barons brought it support from the homesteaders and small 

In the middle of the ISSCTs the range cattle industry and the 
hegemony of the cattle barons began to decline. The dreadful 
winter of 1886-1887 ruined many cattlemen, and others saw the 
gradual influx of small homesteaders, farmers and sheepmen as a 
serious threat to their economic interests. 11 There were few sheep 
and little ground under cultivation in 1890: only 173,00 acres 
were planted in hay, 14,607 in oats, and 4,584 in wheat. 11 ' What 
the cattlemen particularly hated, then, were the small settlers who 
in many cases were former cowboys who had once worked for the 
big cattle companies and had acquired small herds through home- 
steading. 13 The large cattlemen regarded themselves as aristocrats, 
and were disdainful of the poor settlers. 14 

The cattlemen hated the settlers for filing on land that they con- 
sidered their property, and accused the settlers of robbing their 
herds. The rustling issue thus become a rationalization (grounded 
in some truth, as small ranchers did brand mavericks) for the de- 
creasing dividends paid by the cattlemen. 15 The cattlemen had no 
legal basis for impeding settlement; the land laws were not adjusted 
to the needs of the cattle industry, and the cattlemen took the land 
they needed. In addition, it was very difficult to obtain convictions 
against rustlers. 1 " The cattle barons, then, were threatened by the 
relative decline of their industry and the rising popular sentiment 
against them. In Johnson County in the spring of 1891, the anti- 
stock grangers formed the Northern Wyoming Farmers' and Stock 

9. John K. Yoshida, "The Wyoming Election of 1892" (M. A., Univ. of 
Wyoming, 1956), p. 51. 

10. Larson, op. cit., p. 283. 

11. Krueger, op. cit., pp. 14-16; Osgood, op. cit., pp. 220-223, 240-243. 

12. Rollins, op. cit., p. 307; Larson, op. cit., p. 270. 

13. Larson, op. cit., p. 270. 

14. Rollins, op. cit., pp. 310-31 1. 

15. Krueger, op. cit., pp. 14-16. 

16. Rollins, op. cit., pp. 317-318. 


Growers' Association, a direct organizational challenge to the Wyo- 
ming Stock Growers' Association. In the face of these threats the 
efforts of the Association to retain its power "resulted in the first 
real struggle in Wyoming politics." 17 

In this context of frustration and anxiety, acts of violence against 
individual rustlers and suspected rustlers became common. The 
resort to violence by the cattlement reached its climax in April, 
1892, when 25 Texas gunmen and 15 cattlemen "invaded" Johnson 
County with the explicit purpose of slaying designated rustlers. 
The band, after killing two suspected rustlers, was surrounded by a 
posse and then taken into custody by federal troops. The Johnson 
County War immediately became the most heated issue in state 
politics. The Populists and the Democrats, after a party purge, 
sided with the homesteaders and small ranchers and accused the 
Republican Party of responsibility for the invasion. The issue 
spread beyond the state, and the Populists at their national conven- 
tion in Omaha condemned ". . . the recent invasion of the Territory 
of Wyoming by the hired assassins of plutocracy, assisted by 
federal officials. " ls 

The invasion was not a Republican Party project, but Repub- 
licans were traditionally sympathetic to the cattlemen. Leading 
Republicans were associated with the invasion, and the Republican 
governor who had refused to call out the militia until the cattlemen 
and gunslingers were beseiged was charged with complicity in the 
event. 19 

The invasion issue gave life to the embryonic Populist Party, 
putting "flesh on the bare bones of their rhetoric about predatory 
plutocracy." The Populists attacked the greed of the cattle com- 

17. Osgood, op. cit., p. 158; Emmons, op. cit.. pp. 163-164. 

18. Hicks, op. cit., Appendix F., p. 444. 

19. Rollins, op. cit.. pp. 324-344; Larson, op. cit., pp. 270-272, 284; Krue- 
ger, op. cit., pp. 16-17; Yoshida. op. cit., pp. 17-21. The most polemical 
work against the invaders is Asa S. Mercer, The Banditti of The Plains (San 
Francisco. 1935). The latest study of the invasion, with a full bibliography, 
is Helena H. Smith, The War on Powder River (New York, 1966). For a 
list of the invaders, see Yoshida. op. cit., p. 115. Leaders in the anti-rustler 
movement, the "Regulators," were men of wealth, education, and prom- 
inence; see Smith, op. cit., pp. 185-189. Circumstantive evidence connected 
both Wyoming Republican senators, Joseph Carey and Francis Warren, with 
the invasion, and the public sentiment connecting Warren with the invaders 
probably cost him his senatorial seat; (see George W. Paulson, '"The Con- 
gressional Career of Joseph Maull Carey," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 35, No. 
1, 66; Jackson, "The Administration of Thomas Moonlight," op. cit., p. 14.) 
During the 1 892 campaign in Colorado, Davis H. Waite charged that the 
governor of Colorado and the United States government had "protected" 
rather than "punished" the "criminals;" Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 16, 
1892, quoted in John R. Morris, "Davis H. Waite: The Ideology of A 
Western Populist" (Ph. D., Univ. of Colorado, 1965), p. 150. 


panies and accused the Wyoming Republicans of wanting "more 
steers and fewer men." 2U Henry Breitenstein, in a long letter to the 
Daily Boomerang, one of the state's leading papers, denounced the 
invaders as a type accustomed to "making laws to burden . . . 
wreck banks, cause suicides and evade paying ... [its] portion of 
the taxes."- 1 Another leading Populist, Shakespeare E. Sealy, also 
an ex-Democrat, employee of the Union Pacific, and Knight of 
Labor, denounced the Republicans as a "band of ruffians," plotting 
"the depopulation of our state in order to make room for steers, 
cows, horses, and sheep." 22 

The economic, social and political conflict between the cattle 
barons and the small settlers became the distinguishing dimension 
(until 1896) of the Populist revolt in Wyoming. 

The anti-stock elements, allied with the smaller ranchers, made com- 
mon cause against the larger cattle companies, many of which, as has 
been seen, were foreign owned. It was then, according to one West- 
ern newspaper, "essentially a conflict between range monopoly and 
the homesteader; between the existence of the farmer and the profits 
of the cattle syndicate . . . the old fight between the toiling many and 
the monied few." 23 

The Populists gained numerous defectors as the result of the inva- 
sion. The entire Jackson County Republican Committee resigned 
and Joseph DeBarthe, its chairman, joined the Populists and later 
edited the Free Lance, a party paper. The Sundance Republican, 
of Crook County, changed its name to The Reform, and supported 
the Populists. At this time several prominent Democrats also 
joined the Populists. In Cheyenne I. S. Bartlett, journalist and 
historian, left the Democratic Party and joined the Populists. 24 
His wife, a prominent Republican, also joined the People's Party. 
Shakespeare Sealy, the secretary of the state central committee, 
announced that before the end of September every county in the 
state would be organized. 25 Public sentiment was strongly against 
the cattlemen. There was real danger in Wyoming that the stock 
of the large companies would be slaughtered, and these companies 
were virtually forced out of northern Wyoming. 26 The Populists 
and Democrats were intent on using this adverse public opinion to 
oust the Republicans from office. 

20. Krueger, op. cit., p. 18; Osgood, op. cit., pp. 245-246. 

21. Boomerang, June 1, 1892, quoted in Krueger, op. cit., p. 18. 

22. Boomerang, Oct. 10, 1892, quoted in ibid., pp. 7-8, 18-19. 

23. Rocky Mountain News, June 1, 1892, quoted in Emmons, op. cit. 

24. In his History of Wyoming (Chicago, 1918), II, pp. 423-427, Bartlett 
gives a flattering and politically unspecific profile of himself and Mrs. 

25. Krueger, op. cit., pp. 19-20; Larson, op. cit., p. 285. 

26. Osgood, op. cit., pp. 252-254; Rollins, op. cit., p. 342. 



The impact of the Johnson County War on the Populists can be 
seen in their platform adopted at the first state convention in Lara- 
mie on June 29, 1892. Delegates from six counties were present: 
Albany, Carbon, Crook, Laramie, Sheridan and Sweetwater. The 
platform, unlike the first Laramie platform, focused on state issues, 
specifically the Johnson County War. 

The first plank demanded legislation to punish those who vio- 
lated the responsibilities of public office; the third plank ruled out 
any but actual residents of the state from "any position of trust or 
profit ..." The eighth plank demanded "the repeal of all laws 
conferring possessory rights on the public domain." This was fol- 
lowed by a demand for the repeal of all laws relating to the Wyo- 
ming Stock Association. The next plank, by far the longest, de- 
nounced in "unequivocal and unqualified terms" the stock associa- 
tion for the Johnson County affair, and further resolutions criti- 
cized the Republican state administration and the Cheyenne 
Republican ring. 

At their state nominating convention in late September, the 
Populists adopted a platform that incorporated most of the Laramie 
planks and focused heavily on the political meaning of the Johnson 
County invasion. Both platforms called for the initiative and 
referendum, and for legislation to help the debtor. The Wyoming 
platforms differed from other state platforms in their silence on the 
issue of free silver; the money question was touched on only in the 
resolution denouncing ". . . our president's unpatriotic act in solicit- 
ing foreign interference in revising our monetary system." The 
platforms were also silent on the issue of public ownership or gov- 
ernment regulation of transportation and utilities. Both platforms 
attacked the Arid Land Bill of Republican Senator Francis E. 
Warren. 27 

After much intense debate the Populists voted 27 to 17 to accept 
a Democratic proposal for fusion, agreeing to support the Demo- 
cratic state ticket in exchange for Democratic support for Populist 
presidential candidate James B. Weaver. But after the decision to 
fuse was reached, delegates from Albany, Crook and Sweetwater 
Counties walked out of the convention. 28 

27. Krueger, op. cit., p. 21; platforms in Appendix B & C, pp. 74-77. 
For Warren's ideas and legislation on public lands, see Anne C. Hanson, 
"The Congressional Career of Senator Francis E. Warren, from 1890 to 
1902," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 20, No. 2, (July 1948), pp. 130-145. 
Bartlett, op. cit., Ill, pp. 5-9. 

28. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 22, 1892, p. 2, col. 5; Larson, op. cit., 
p. 285; Yoshida, op. cit., pp. 53-54. 


Populist and Democratic leaders thought that fusion was neces- 
sary "to rid the state of the misrule of a lawless and intolerable 
despotism . . . [and] to overthrow the common enemy of equal, 
just and safe government." 29 But "young miss Populist and old 
man Democracy did not have a completely happy marriage," and 
fusion was not achieved in Converse, Sweetwater, Crook and Lara- 
mie Counties. It was successful, however, in Albany, Sheridan 
and Johnson Counties/' 1 " 

The Democratic platform of 1892 opposed the Force Bill, the 
Warren Arid Land Bill, and attacked the Republican state admin- 
istration for its involvement in the Johnson County invasion. The 
platform called for the free and unlimited coinage of silver and 
gold, and for the reduction of the tariff and government expenses. 
The Republican platform endorsed the protective tariff and bimet- 
allism, ignored the Johnson County invasion problem and skirted 
the free coinage issue. 31 

The major issue in the state campaign was the Johnson County 
invasion. The fusionists constantly stressed that episode and had 
the majority of popular sentiment behind them. A secondary issue 
was Senator Warren's Arid Land Bill, giving the states control over 
the irrigation and development of arid land. The fusionists at- 
tacked this bill as permitting a "land steal" by large corporations. 
Warren was also attacked for complicity in the Johnson invasion, 
and he and Joseph Carey were attacked for their opposition to 
free coinage. 32 

The Populist platforms of 1892 put the major emphasis on state 
issues, but since these were shared by the Democrats, the Populists 
did not get the full political benefit of them. Moreover, the Popu- 
list campaign strategy was inconsistent with the state platform in 
giving primary attention to national issues, particularly on mon- 
etary and economic problems, stressing free silver and government 
ownership of corporate property as the remedies to the depression. 
The Democrats had a free silver plank in their state platform, the 
Republicans had an ambiguous bimetallic statement, and the 
Populists had no free silver plank at all. 

The Populists ran a poor third in the election, receiving between 

29. Boomerang, Sept. 27, 1892. quoted in Krueger, op. cit., p. 30. 

30. Ibid., pp. 31-32. 

31. Yoshida, op. cit., pp. 41, 45. In 1890 the Republican state platform 
had called for the "restoration of parity of value between the two money 
metals and the free coinage of silver." Warren and Carey had helped frame 
the platform but in Congress they voted against the free silver amendments 
of Senator William Stewart (Hanson, op. cit., pp. 17-18; Paulson, op. cit., 
pp. 55-56). 

32. Ibid., pp. 56, 70-77; Hanson, op. cit., p. 14. Carey's advocacy of 
repeal of the Sherman Act may have cost him his seat in the Senate. Sen- 
ator Warren's idea of transferring federal lands to the states for reclamation 
purposes was embodies in the Carey Act adopted by Congress in 1894. 


1 1 and 1 3 percent of the total vote. The Republicans defeated the 
Weaver electors, but John Osborne, the Democratic candidate for 
governor, Gibson Clark, candidate for supreme court justice, and 
Henry Coffeen, Democratic candidate for the House, were elected. 
The fusionists won control of the state legislature, although they 
failed to elect a senator. 83 

The fusionist state victory was related to the reaction of many 
to the Johnson County invasion and the implication of the Repub- 
licans in it. 34 The fusionists elected 20 men to the State House, 16 
Democrats and five Populists; the Republicans elected 12 men. 
The two Populists elected from Johnson County, Dudley A. Kings- 
bury and Elias TJ. Snider, were unopposed by Republicans. The 
election of William Taylor from Albany County, not a Populist 
stronghold, was probably due to the fusion arrangement in the 
county. Fusion may also have accounted for the victory of L. C. 
Tidball of Sheridan County. Sheridan was located directly above 
Johnson County, and thus the invasion probably won many votes 
for the Populists. The same may have been true for Strautler Dean 
of Crook and Weston Counties, which also bordered Johnson. But 
the degree of Populist organization in those counties would also 
have to be considered. 

However, it is risky to generalize about 12 counties on the basis 
of one. In Johnson County the Republican electors lost by 727 
votes, and the Republican state ticket by 779, not a substantial 
enough difference to justify the conclusion that the Republicans 
crossed over to vote for the Democratic state ticket while also 
voting for the Republican electors. Furthermore, the assertion 
about cross-over voting, either by Republicans or Democrats, is 
supported in only six of the 12 counties; in Natrona, Weston, Al- 
bany, Converse, Fremont and Johnson Counties the Republican 
electors and the Democratic state candidates both won. The re- 
maining six counties show a mixed picture which defies any single 
generalization as to voting behavior. In Carbon and Unita Coun- 

33. Marie H. Erwin, Wyoming Historical Blue Book (Denver, 1946). 
pp. 1180-1181. 

34. According to Yoshida, the Republicans carried the state while losing 
the gubernatorial office because Democrats violated their fusion pledge and 
voted for Harrison. An alternative explanation of the voting returns is 
given by Krueger, who argued that Republicans crossed over, voting for 
John E. Osborne, the Democratic governor, and then voting for Harrison. 
In support of this view, Krueger points to the voting returns for Johnson 
County. In 1890, Johnson County had generally supported the state Re- 
publican ticket. In 1892, the county was carried by Weaver but with a 
much smaller majority than given to the Democrats, who received their 
largest majority from Johnson County. Krueger thus infers that the Repub- 
licans in the county, out of a protest against the invasion or anxiety about 
another invasion, crossed party lines in voting for the Democratic state 
ticket; Krueger, op. cit., pp. 32-33. 


ties the Republican electors, Osborne and the Republican repre- 
sentative won. In Laramie, the Republicans gained both the state 
and electoral offices. In Sheridan and Crook the Populist electors 
and the fusionist state ticket was successful, but in Sweetwater the 
Populist electors, Osborne and the Republican candidate for con- 
gress won. 85 

The generalizations of Yoshida and Krueger go beyond the evi- 
dence they present, but there is doubtless truth in both views. It is 
clear that generally speaking the Republicans gave greater support 
to Harrison than to their state candidates. It is also true, as Larson 
points out, that the Democrats in some counties did not adhere 
faithfully to the fusion arrangement as did the Populists. 3 * 

The Republicans controlled the Senate, but the five Populists 
held the balance of power in the House. The fusionists were suc- 
cessful in organizing the House and elected L. C. Tidball as speak- 
er. However, their Democratic alliance did not hold up through 
the second session of the legislature, and they could not agree on a 
senatorial candidate. The Populists nominated the popular Re- 
publican convert, Mrs. I. S. Bartlett, "the first time in the history 
of the United States that a woman was nominated by a legislative 
caucus for United States Senator." 37 Francis E. Warren's re- 
election was blocked and no senator was elected. Until 1895, 
Wyoming had only one man, Joseph Carey, in the Senate. 

Dudley A. Kingsbury introduced a bill embodying a demand 
from the Populist state platform to protect the small settlers from 
the absentee corporations by providing for the "equal use and 
occupancy of the public domain by the inhabitants of Wyoming." 
L. C. Tidball introduced a bill to create a board of railroad com- 
missioners with the power to fix passenger and freight rates, and a 
bill amending the state constitution to include the initiative and 
referendum. But these legislative efforts were either killed in com- 
mittee or voted down. Absorbed with the senatorial question, the 
legislature adopted only 33 laws and six resolutions and memorials. 
Governor Osborne and the fusionists wanted more stringent game 
and bird laws, revision of the election law, and greater efforts to 
encourage immigration, but none of these proposals were achieved. 
The fusionists also failed to repeal the laws relating to the state 
Livestock Commission, but Governor Osborne did veto the appro- 
priation for the Commission. The fusionists also sent a free silver 
memorial and a memorial calling for the direct election of senators 
to the United States Congress. 38 

The strength Wyoming Populists had shown in 1892 was no 

35. Erwin, op. cit., pp. 1180-1181. 

36. Larson, op. cit., p. 287. 

37. Bartlett, op. cit., I, p. 222. 


longer present in the municipal elections of 1893. They ran a full 
slate of candidates in the Laramie elections of 1893 but only one 
man was elected. Populist Party candidates also did very poorly in 
municipal elections in Douglas, Cheyenne, Rock Springs, Evan- 
ston, Green River and Newcastle. 39 Party leaders, nevertheless, 
were hopeful about their prospects in 1 894. Part of their optimism 
was based on an assessment of the political effects of the panic and 
depression of 1893. Between 1893 and 1896 the depression cut 
property values in the state by two million dollars, and cattle valua- 
tion declined one million dollars between 1892 and 1896. The 
panic of 1893 was followed by a substantial depression lasting until 
1898. The Union Pacific Railroad went bankrupt in October of 
1893; and the Warren Livestock Company, the largest of its kind 
in Wyoming, went into receivership in August, 1894. 4 " The Pop- 
ulists saw the depression as a vindication of their critique of the 
economic system and they pushed their currency and banking pro- 
posals as a remedy to the distress. 

The Wyoming Populists, as was true of their comrades in other 
far west states, became involved in social upheavals and protests 
accompanying the hard times, such as the Coxey Army movement 
and the Pullman strike. Populist leaders of Laramie attended 
meetings of the Coxeyites and late in May, 1893, the Albany Coun- 
ty Populists expressed their sympathy for the marchers. A. J. 
Howd, a party idealogist, argued that they were as deserving of 
pensions as Civil War veterans. When the American Railway 
Union boycott of the Pullman Company went into effect in Wyo- 
ming on July 1, Breitenstein and Sealy, president of the A. R. U. 
local number 19, functioned as strike leaders, with the sympathy 
of Populist leaders throughout the state. 41 

Despite the fusionist state victory in 1892 the Populists and 
Democrats did not fuse again in 1894 but ran full rival slates for 
state offices and candidates for congress. At the Casper state 
convention on August 9, the Populists endorsed the Omaha plat- 
form, enunciated the principle of "Equal Rights to All, Special 
Privileges to None," declared that the panic and depression had 
resulted from "vicious legislation" which the Populists when elected 
would remedy, condemned the Democratic administration's han- 
dling of the Pullman strike, and promised laws making industrial 
arbitration compulsory. 

38. Krueger, op. cit., pp. 34-36; Larson, op. cit., pp. 288-289; Bartlett, 
op. cit., pp. 220-222. On Osborne, see Bartlett, II, pp. 8-11; and "In Me- 
moriam - John Eugene Osborne, 1858-1943," Annals of Wyoming, XV (July 
1943), p. 279. 

39. Krueger, op. cit., p. 37. 

40. Larson, op. cit., p. 296. 

41. Krueger, op. cit., pp. 40-41. 


For Wyoming, they promised to furnish textbooks for public schools 
at cost; to incorporate the initiative and referendum into the constitu- 
tion; to repeal discriminatory laws favoring the stock growers' asso- 
ciation; to reserve all public lands for the use of actual settlers; to 
retain arid lands in the hands of the federal government and to reclaim 
and irrigate them. And, finally, they condemned the nomination for 
public office of any person who had been involved in the Johnson 
County invasion. 4 - 

For governor, the Populists nominated Lewis Cass Tidball. Born 
in Ohio in 1848, Tidball was a lawyer and a school teacher before 
settling in Sheridan, Wyoming, where he ran a ranch. In 1 876 he 
joined the Greenback Party, and in 1892 was elected as a Populist 
to the Wyoming legislature. He was on the political left of the 
party, and after its demise became a socialist, editing a socialist 
paper in Sheridan. He was strongly committed to public owner- 
ship and the cooperative commonwealth which he thought would 
destroy the competitive system that "makes hyenas of us all." 
TidbalFs Utopian scheme was future-oriented toward a time when 
the people would control both the government and the economy. 43 
The election returns placed Tidball third in the gubernatorial 
contest. The six Populist candidates who ran in Laramie County 
were defeated by approximate margins of six to one. Ten counties 
in the state had no Populist candidates in the running. With only 
one candidate elected with Populist ties, the 1894 legislature came 
completely under Republican control. 44 


From 1894 to 1896 the silver issue increased in importance 
among the Wyoming Populists. Many Wyoming citizens believed 
the state contained rich deposits which had not yet been discovered. 
The Populists hoped to win support from this conviction, which 
some of them shared. For instance, C. W. Bramel, a Populist 
leader of Laramie, had extensive mining interests and was confident 
that Wyoming would become a major silver state. By 1896 the 
silver issue had become as important for state politics as the John- 
son County invasion had been in 1 892. 45 

Throughout the West enthusiasm for silver ran high and everywhere 
in the state Bryan free silver clubs were organized. Sheridan boasted 

42. Ibid., pp. 43-44; Larson, op. cit., p. 290. 

43. Ibid., pp. 9-10. His thought does not support Richard Hofstadter's 
view of the Populists as reactionaries committed to an agrarian golden age 
in the past. 

44. Krueger, op. cit., pp. 48-49; Larson, op. cit., pp. 291-292. 

45. Krueger, op. cit.. pp. 51-52. 


a club with a membership of one hundred and fifty. A silver club was 
organized in Laramie with three hundred members. 16 

The Wyoming Populists were not "silver Populists" or hard money 
inflationists like William Harvey and Senator William Steward of 
Nevada. But they saw an expanded currency as a remedy for the 
ill effects of the depression and a remedy, moreover, with wide 
political appeal. Henry Breitenstein, one of the theoretical leaders 
of the party, thought the panic and depression was a result of over- 
production and imbalance in the distribution of wealth. The 
masses suffered from lack of buying power and under-consump- 
tion, which he felt could be eliminated if the volume of money were 
expanded. Like Populists generally, he accepted the quantity 
theory of money — "the price of a good is a function of the amount 
of money in circulation and the rapidity with which it circulates." 47 
Breitenstein held to the "fiat" theory, maintaining that silver was 
not essential for an expanded economy but that anything could be 
used for currency, "skin plasters, copper, fig leaves." 4 * However, 
he recognized that free silver had the greatest popular and political 

The decline of the once-confident party was apparent at the state 
convention in Cheyenne in July, when delegates from only five 
counties (Albany, Sweetwater, Crook, Laramie and Sheridan) were 
present. In 1 894 the party, without the aid of the Democrats, had 
done poorly and it appeared to many Populists in 1896 that the 
only realistic strategy was to fuse with the Democrats. The fusion- 
ists offered to support the Bryan-Sewall electors and to withdraw 
their state ticket in favor of the Democrats if the Democrats would 
support the Populist candidates for the state legislature. But a 
segment of the Populists repudiated fusion and, led by John W. 
Patterson, party state chairman from Sweetwater County, put up 
their own slate of electors. Fusion tickets were worked out in 
Crook, Sheridan and Laramie Counties but were blocked in Sweet- 
water and Unita Counties. In seven counties the Populists did not 
run a candidate for the legislature. 

The money question and the tariff were the chief issues in the 
campaign. Both the Democrats and the Populists stressed their 

46. Hanson, op. cit., p. 20. 

47. Krueger, op. cit., p. 55. 

48. In a loose sense, every theory of money is quantitative, i.e., it recog- 
nizes that a large expansion of money results in inflation and a large con- 
traction in deflation. See Clark Warburton, Depression, Inflation and 
Monetary Policy (Baltimore, 1966), pp. 292-293 n. In a narrow sense, the 
quantity theory held that money was based on government obligations and 
'"fiat." This Greenback-Populist theory has won sophisticated support from 
current economists. For example, see Milton Friedman and Anna J. 
Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 (Princeton, 


advocacy of free silver, but the Republicans, according to Larson, 
were loyal to their national platform and hedged on the issue. The 
Republicans apparently subsidized the anti-fusionist Populists. 

Warren's letterbooks for the campaign period reveal that he obtained 
railroad passes and $250 in expense money for J. W. Patterson, chair- 
man of the Populist state committee, so that Patterson could rally 
Populists to stand by William Brown and the Populist electors. War- 
ren also supplied passes for Brown, and was able to keep Brown and 
two Populist electors on the ballot (a third Populist elector accepted a 
place on the Democratic ticket vacated by a Democrat). Meanwhile 
the battle was joined between fusionist and anti-fusionist Populists, 
and it was apparent that the Populist vote would be split between 
Democrats and Populists. 49 

Larson also says that the Republicans organized and voted Finnish 
miners at Hanna and Carbon. Their campaign propaganda at- 
tacked the Democrats for the free wool schedule in the Wilson 
Gorman tariff. These varied efforts brought McKinley closer to 
victory in Wyoming than in the other far western states, but Bryan 
still carried the state by about 800 votes. The Republicans re- 
tained control of the state legislature; in the Senate they elected 
four men and the Democrats three. In the House the fusionists 
elected 15, the Republicans 23, and the Populists elected three men 
from Sheridan County and one from Crook. William Brown, the 
Populist candidate for the United States Senate, won 648 votes; 
the Patterson Populist electors won 486 and 427, about two per- 
cent of the total. 50 

The Populist crusade in Wyoming, as in other states, lost its 
vigor after the 1896 campaign. The Republicans profited nation- 
ally from a rise in prosperity in 1897 and the patriotic emotions 
aroused by the Spanish-American War. The enthusiasm in Wyo- 
ming for the national Republican administration resulted in a 
sweeping Republican victory in 1898, which brought them com- 
plete control of the state executive positions, the legislature, and 
the United States senatorial seats. The Populist anti-fusionist fac- 
tion ran a partial slate of candidates but received no higher than 
five percent of the total state vote. The only exceptions were in 
Crook and Sheridan Counties, where Populist candidates received 
between 10 and 20 percent of the vote. But neither of the two 
Populist candidates for the state legislature won over 10 percent 
of the popular vote. 51 

In 1900, McKinley carried Wyoming and the Populist anti- 
fusionist elector, Peter Esperson from Laramie County, received 
only 20 votes, all from Sheridan County. However, the Populists 

49. Larson, op. cit., p. 293. 

50. Ibid., p. 294; Krueger, op. cit., pp. 62-64; Bartlett, op. cit., pp. 227- 

51. Ibid., p. 230; Larson, op. cit., pp. 314-315; Krueger, op. cit., p. 65. 


did elect one man to the state legislature, Melvin Nichols from 
Crook County. 52 

By 1902 the Populists in Wyoming were replaced as a protest 
party by the Socialists, and no Populists ran for state offices. How- 
ever, Nichols and Esperson both ran for the state legislature but 
were badly defeated. In 1904 the Populists had no electors or 
candidates for state office. However, the Populists in Wyoming 
lingered on longer than in other states. In 1906, they nominated 
three men for the state legislature and Clifford J. Sawyer for state 
treasurer. Sawyer received only 66 votes, 29 from Albany County. 
By 1906, William Brown, a former Prohibitionist and leading 
Populist, had accepted a Democratic nomination for representative 
in Congress. 515 

In 1908 the Populists nominated three presidential electors: 
Sawyer, William H. Clarke, and Mary E. Metcalf. Together they 
won only 194 votes, 55 from Albany County and 105 from 

The spirit made its last try in the elections of 1914 and 1916. when 
several Populist candidates for state offices and for the legislative re- 
ceived a token number of votes. 

For all of [the Populists'] impassioned rhetoric, for all of their hard 
work, they left scarcely a mark on the state. Wyoming still does not 
have proviisons in its constitution for the initiative, the referendum, or 
the recall. The Populists were never able to repeal the laws discrim- 
inating in favor of the Stock Growers' Association, nor were they able 
to abolish the State Livestock Commission. Their attempt to regulate 
the railroads was unsuccessful. 

It is clear that the Populist Party never amounted to much in Wyo- 
ming because there were very few crop farmers and virtually no silver 
production, because laborers and miners were often intimidated by 
their employers, and because Populist leaders could rarely agree 
(thanks, in part, to manipulations by Republicans and Democrats). 53 

This statement, together with a stress on the rival appropriation of 
important state issues by the Democrats, provides a comprehensive 
explanation for the relative weakness of Populism in Wyoming. 

52. Ibid. 

53. Erwin, op. cit., pp. 1207-1208. 

54. Kreuger, op. cit., pp. 66-67. 

55. Larson, op. cit., pp. 284-285. 


The business men of Casper show the right kind of a spirit when 
they all put down twelve foot sidewalks, which same they have 
done. Nothing narrow and contracted goes here. 

Casper Weekly Mail, March 15, 1889 

Did you see those new boxes at the postoffice? Call and get one 
and be in fashion. 

Casper Weekly Mail, August 9, 1889 

Why is a watch-dog bigger by night than by day? Because he is 
let out at night and taken in in the morning. 

Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, Vol. 82, 1871 

Andy Borie, Esquire, station agent at Buford besides being station 
agent is mayor, marshall, postmaster, Justice of the peace, fire 
warden and the Lord knows what else. He is what Mark Twain 
would term the "concentrated inhabitant." Long may he wave. 

Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 4, 1876 

We would suggest that parties who are excavating for building pur- 
poses, to avoid trouble to themselves and the city, place barriers of 
some description around the same. People passing along the side- 
walks after night might fall, break a neck, leg or arm, and then 
institute a suit for damage. Look "oudt a leetle." 

Laramie Daily Sun, May 7, 1875 

A one cent postage stamp sends the Laramie Daily Sun to any part 
of the United States. Send one to your friends for luck. 

Laramie Daily Sun, May 7, 1875 

* The third and last ship of the United States Navy to carry the name 
"U.S.S. Wyoming" was the battleship shown here immediately after being 
christened in 1911 by Dorothy Knight, daughter of a former Chief Justice of 
the Wyoming Supreme Court. Governor J. M. Carey and other prominent 
Wyomingites were present for the occasion. At that time the largest battle- 
ship in the world, the U.S.S. Wyoming joined the Atlantic fleet as flagship. 
During World War I she was assigned to the British Grand Fleet and in 
1918 participated in the internment of the German High Seas Fleet. In the 
same year she was one of the ships that escorted President Woodrow Wilson 
to Brest, France. She served as a training ship during World War II and 
was de-commissioned in 1946. The handsome silver service purchased by 
the State of Wyoming for use on the ship is now in the custody of the State 
and is on display at the Wyoming State Museum, Cheyenne. 

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Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 

certificates of appreciation at the 14th Annual Meeting included, left to right: Glenn Sweem, 
Sheridan; Mrs. Charles Hord, Casper; Frank Bowron, Casper; Mrs. Edness Kimball Wilkins, 
Casper; Dr. T. A. Larson, Laramie. 

Muilding the Zowh of Cody-. 
Qcorge Z. Meek, 1894-1943 * 


James D. McLaird 

Hopeful speculators, expecting fabulous profits when the on- 
coming settlers purchased their property, founded town after town 
in the West. Myth and legend surround most of these colorful 
incidents; Colonel A. A. Anderson's interesting story concerning 
the founding of the town of Cody, Wyoming, is typical. According 
to Anderson, William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, re- 
turned each year to the West after the seasonal run of his Wild 
West Show to spend the winter months with his friends. During 
one of these winter retreats the town of Cody was founded: 

... at the close of the season, with a few congenial companions, he 
would go on a hunting expedition in the Rockies and play a star 
engagement. One season, when returning from the annual hunt, Cody 
camped with his cronies on the Shoshone River near where the town 
of Cody now stands. 

When they had done justice to a dinner bien arrosee and were feel- 
ing at peace with the world, one member of the party felt inspired to 
make a proposal: 

'Let's found a town here and name it for Cody!' 

The resolution was passed and George Beck was delegated to pick 
out the site for the new city. He mounted a horse and rode up on a 
high bluff overlooking the river. Here he threw down his hat on the 
ground and came back to camp, saying, Gentlemen, the city of Cody 
is founded.' 1 

This story is highly oversimplified. 

The small city of Cody is located in the northwestern corner of 
the Big Horn Basin, a large "valley" between the Big Horn Moun- 
tains and the true Rockies. The town is beside the Shoshone 
River, one of the major tributaries of the Big Horn River which 

* This article is the second part of a Master's thesis entitled "George T. 
Beck: Western Entrepreneur," submitted to the Department of History and 
Graduate School at the University of Wyoming, June, 1966. It has been 
considerably revised. The first part was published in the October 1967 issue 
of Annals of Wyoming under the title "Ranching in the Big Horns: George 
T. Beck, 1856-1894." 

1. Colonel A. A. Anderson, Experiences and Impressions: The Auto- 
biography of Colonel A. A. Anderson (New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1933), p. 117. 


traverses the center of the Basin. The semi-arid nature of the 
Basin has determined its history. From the beginning farming 
seemed relegated to narrow plots along the rivers. Irrigation 
changed this; farming became a prosperous enterprise by the diver- 
sion of water from the rivers. Irrigation in the Basin began in the 
late nineteenth century. Being more organized and less inclined to 
speculate, the Mormons were the most successful at first. Private 
enterprise also came for here was a means of making profit. Build 
a canal, locate a town, and sell water rights to the inevitable set- 
tlers — such was the dream of George T. Beck and his associates. 
Beck already had been involved in founding towns and building 
irrigation ditches and the venture seemed natural to him. He 
abandoned his ranch on the eastern slope of the Big Horn Moun- 
tains and began anew farther west. 

The birth of the town of Cody and the growth of it and the 
surrounding countryside is a part of the story of an irrigation 
scheme and is centered upon the activities of an entrepreneur, 
George T. Beck. This study is neither a biography of Beck nor a 
history of Cody, but rather a record of Beck s entrepreneurial 
activities and promotions of the town of Cody. 

The exact time George T. Beck, William F. Cody, and the others 
became interested in the Big Horn Basin is unknown. Beck said 
it was during a prospecting trip that Labin Hillsbury, an old pros- 
pector who worked with him, pointed out the possibilities for irri- 
gation along the Shoshone River. 2 Because of his earlier exper- 
iences, Beck was familiar with the potential value of irrigation for 
building the region. He and several interested investors set out the 
next spring to survey the country; although he gave no exact date 
for the trip, it was probably made in 1893. 

There can be little doubt that Beck had in mind by this time to 
build an irrigation canal under the terms of the newly-passed Carey 

2. Beck committed some of his experiences in the West to paper in an 
intended autobiography and completed a rough draft of 118 typewritten 
pages. This manuscript is a part of the Beck Collection at the Western 
History Research Center, University of Wyoming, and will be hereafter 
cited simply as Autobiography. The report of the expedition to the Sho- 
shone is from pages 102-103 of the Autobiography. Some of Beck's com- 
panions on the expedition were named: "Hinkle Smith, John Patrick, 
Captain and Andrew Stockwell, and Horton Boal, and two others." The 
engineer for the party was Elwood Mead. A document similar to the Auto- 
biography is Beck's "Personal Reminiscences of the Beginning of Cody, 
1895-1896," written for the American Legion, January, 1936. This thirteen- 
page manuscript is also a part of the Beck Collection and will be cited here- 
after simply as Personal Reminiscences. A third sketch containing the same 
information is Margaret Hayden's article about Beck in the State of Wyo- 
ming Historical Department Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 2. No. 2, November 1, 
1924, 21-27. Efforts to check the reliability of these autobiographical 
accounts have shown them to be generally accurate. 


Act. This important piece of legislation, named for Senator Joseph 
M. Carey of Wyoming, gave impetus to reclaiming semi-arid lands 
in the western states. Previously irrigation had been largely an 
individual matter. Agitation had been in existence for several 
years for some act to aid in reclamation of semi-arid lands and 
Senator Francis Warren of Wyoming had introduced such a bill in 
Congress in 1892, but it failed to pass. In the next session of 
Congress Joseph M. Carey was able to muster enough support to 
pass a reclamation bill, but only by attaching it to an appropriations 
bill. Strong and unexpected opposition had come from Henry A. 
Coffeen, Wyoming's sole member of the House, who claimed the 
bill was backed by land speculators, not by the people." 

The Carey Act, as finally passed, provided for the transfer of 
1.000,000 acres of arid land from the federal government to the 
state. The state simply had to file a map of the lands desired and 
the plan for irrigation after which the Secretary of the Interior 
would approve or reject the project. If approved, the federal gov- 
ernment would set aside the land under consideration and the state 
would then make private contracts for irrigation projects. Upon 
completion of the construction of the canal by the company and 
occupation of the land by settlers on plots of 160 acres or less, the 
federal government gave final ownership of the lands to the state, 
which then gave it to the settlers. 4 

The state of Wyoming accepted the terms of the Carey Act and 
immediately began to provide laws for the projects in their state. 
Because state officials were to make contracts with private com- 
panies to build the irrigation canals, state laws were necessary to 
keep the companies under surveillance. So successful were Wyo- 

3. In his article, "The Congressional Career of Joseph Maull Carev," 
Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 33, No. 1, (April, 1963), 21-81. George W. Paulson 
states that this act "was the most important piece of legislation to Wyoming 
and the West during his Senatorship." The best general discussion of the 
background to the Carey Act is Charles Lindsay, The Big Horn Basin 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1930), pp. 171-187. The actual course 
of the bills in Congress can be traced through the Congressional Record. 
Warren's bill is in Fifty-Second Congress, first session, Congressional Rec- 
ord, July 21, 1892, p. 6486. Senator J. M. Carey introduced a bill on 
February 1, 1894, which was never reported from committee; he introduced 
another bill shortly afterwards which was unanimously passed on July 18 
by the Senate, but was never reported from the House committee. It was 
finally attached to an appropriations bill and passed on August 15, 1894. 
These maneuvers are found in Fifty-third Congress, second session, Con- 
gressional Record, pp. 1761, 2079, 7751, 8123, 8420, 8543, and are con- 
veniently summarized in Lindsay, pp. 180-183. Coffeen's opposition can 
be located in Fifty-third Congress, second session, Congressional Record, 
Appendix, part two, pp. 1419-1423. 

4. Again, Lindsay summarizes these laws, pp. 183-184. The complete 
form of the Carey Act can be found in U. S. Statutes at Large, XXVIII, 
pp. 413-422. 


ming's laws that they were copied by other states and Wyoming 
was charactemed with the title "Law-Giver of the Arid Region." 5 
Wyoming had led the way as a territory also, and with Elwood 
Mead as territorial engineer had framed a coherent system to keep 
allotments of water smaller than the amounts of water available. 
Mead continued as state engineer and all plans and specifications 
were submitted to him before operations were allowed to begin. 

The procedures in Wyoming under the terms of the Carey Act 
began with the private company making a proposal and submitting 
surveys and plans to the state. The state engineer, if he thought 
the project was feasible, issued permits and the State Board of Land 
Commissioners then gave its approval or disapproval. When all 
procedures were completed and the lands were segregated by a 
government land office, the company could begin work. Upon 
completion of the canal the state engineer made an inspection, 
gave his approval or rejection, and notified the State Board of his 
decision. A favorable report allowed the Board to request the 
final transfer of the lands from the federal government. 

The settler wishing to take up land under the company's canal 
had to enter into a contract with the company for water rights and 
for a perpetual interest in the canal, but he purchased the land from 
the state for fifty cents an acre. The unusual feature was that the 
settlers technically became share-holders in the company and when 
the canal was completed and water rights purchased, administration 
and upkeep of the canal became the responsibility of these settlers. 
Until this occurred, the company controlled and was responsible for 
the ditch. 

When the State Board of Land Commissioners met for the first 
time on April 2, 1895, to consider proposed irrigation projects, 
three applications were awaiting initial approval. One was from 
the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company, citing William F. 
Cody as president and George T. Beck as manager. 7 From sur- 

5. William E. Smythe, The Conquest of Arid America (New York: 
Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1900), pp. 207-221. 

6. The State Board of Land Commissioners was composed of the Gov- 
ernor, Secretary of State, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. The 
complete procedure for irrigation projects under the terms of the Carey Act 
in the State of Wyoming is described in Clarence T. Johnston, Irrigation in 
Wyoming, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Experiment Stations, 
Bulletin 205 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909), pp. 57-58. 

7. Minutes of the Arid Land Board, August 2, 1895, Commissioner of 
Public Lands and Farm Loans, Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne. Also 
see Lindsay, pp. 187-188. The other applications were from Henry G. Hay, 
March 19, 1895. who wanted to work along the Greybull River, and the 
Yellowstone Park Land and Irrigation Company. The application of the 
Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company was dated March 27, 1895. 


viving contemporary documents the extent of their original plans 
can be pieced together. 

The initial survey, made on the scouting trip in 1893, called for 
about 400,000 acres. s The engineer for the surveying party was 
Elwood Mead, who also happened to be the state engineer. Beck 
and his friends seemingly were taking no chances that their pro- 
posal would be turned down. In his engineer's report to the man- 
ager, dated August 14, 1894, Elwood Mead gave his estimates for 
the project. According to Mead, irrigation of 200,000 acres, half 
of Beck's figure, would cost $1,000,000 to develop. Though he 
estimated the sale of water rights alone would reach "fully two 
million dollars" and in addition there would be profits from a town 
site, Mead felt this project was unrealistic. There were too few 
available settlers and the company had no organization to attract 
them. Therefore, Mead suggested a smaller canal to irrigate 
25,000 acres. The construction of this canal would provide valu- 
able experience and after settlers were attracted to the area a larger 
project could be undertaken. This smaller project would cost only 
$150,000 he added, and with 25,000 acres at ten dollars per acre 
for water rights, a good profit would be made. The town site 
would still be available and water power could be used to build an 
electric plant, flour mills, and other enterprises. Evidently. Mead's 
suggestions were followed for his figures approach the actual 
results. ;> 

The application of the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company 
to the State Board of Land Commissioners was approved Septem- 
ber 14, 1895, and shortly thereafter Beck led a construction party 
to the canal site to begin work. Beck seemed to be in charge of 
operations, but the company had several directors and there is 
some controversy over who was actually in charge. The details 
are vague and sometimes even contradictory, but a general picture 
can be drawn. Beck indicated that he and Horace Alger, bank 
cashier in Sheridan, at first were alone in the planned project. 
Horton Boal, a member of the original survey party and William 
F. Cody's son-in-law, informed Cody of the plan just after the 
survey party had returned. Cody became interested and asked to 
be allowed in the company: 

Horace and I had a talk, and concluded that as Cody was probably 
the best advertised man in the world, we might organize a company 
and make him President of it. As I had done all the work and put up 
all of the money to date, I arranged it, and made Cody the President. 
Alger the Treasurer, and I would be Secretary and Manager. That 

8. Autobiography, pp. 102-103. 

9. Elwood Mead's estimates and suggestions are from "Report on the 
South Side Canal," by Elwood Mead, Consulting Engineer, to George T. 
Beck and H. C. Alger, August 14, 1894. Beck Collection. 


was satisfactory to Cody and we took in his partner, Nate Salsbury, 
Mr. George Bleistein, Mr. Bronson Rumsey, and Mr. H. M. Gerrans, 
all four from Buffalo, New York. That was the company as or- 
ganized. 10 

All these men were considered directors. Probably Beck's state- 
ment is simplified; there is evidence that he worked hard to get 
Cody into the company rather than Cody asking to be allowed in. 
Beck played the leading role in the company according to his own 
later account. Biographers of Cody usually show a different pic- 
ture, saying "he organized the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Com- 
pany." 11 The meager records reveal that Cody invested more 
heavily in the company than Beck, but Beck probably was the chief 
promoter and administrator. 12 

Shortly after the company was organized and the project ap- 
proved, work began on the ditch. Throughout the first winter they 
worked continuously. Their contract with the state required a 
canal approximately twenty-five miles long with a bottom depth of 
twenty-one feet, large enough to irrigate 25,000 acres of land. At 
first work seemed to progress at a rapid rate and on April 10, 1896, 
the State Board served notice that lands adjoining the canal were 
open for settlement. Construction of the canal was more difficult 
than it appears. Some problems, such as the trouble with alcohol, 
were small and could be dealt with easily. Several small saloons 
erected near the project attracted the workers, frequently making 
them ineffective for the next day's work. 13 Another difficulty was 
the distance, Red Lodge, Montana, being the nearest source of 
supplies. Problems of construction also slowed the pace: "Our 
hillside work would frequently slide and it had to be done over and 

10. Personal Reminiscences; Autobiography, pp. 104-105. Beck added 
that no one put up any money until the next spring when each gave $5,000. 

11. This quotation comes from Dan Muller, My Life with Buffalo Bill 
(Chicago: Reilly and Lee Co., 1948), p. 88, which though not a biography 
is often the source used by Cody's biographers in evaluating his role in the 
irrigation company. Biographers of Cody often record that he became 
interested in the Big Horn Basin in the 1870's as a result of expeditions in the 
area; for example, Don Russell, The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1960), pp. 168, 426. 

12. An early list of stockholders in the "Manager's Book of the Shoshone 
Land and Irrigation Company" includes Cody, Salsbury, Bleistein, Rumsey, 
and Bingham each with 400 shares; Beck with 260; Alger, Gerrans, and 
Ward with 200 each. Ward, Bingham, and Cunningham are not mentioned 
elsewhere. A later list from the "Minutes of the Stockholders' Meeting," 
December 2, 1902, shows Cody with 1,470, Salsbury with 2,176, Rumsey 
with 960, Bleistein with 960, Gerrans with 560, Beck with 400, and Alger 
with 200. Beck Collection. 

13. Autobiography, pp. 105-106. 


over again/' 14 C. E. Hayden, the company's new engineer, once 
found that in many locations the water was leaking into prairie 
dog holes. 

Construction was not completed, even though the lands were 
opened for settlement. Work was sporadic and the canal was not 
finished for many years. In January, 1896, they had to quit due to 
frozen ground which made digging impossible. For some reason, 
probably a shortage of money, work was stopped again in October. 
1896, and in July of the following year there was a break in the 
canal which caused some concern. Colonel Cody became upset 
about the breaks in the canal and wrote angrily that he was "sur- 
prised that more judgment was not used — it was neglect and care- 
lessness that the water should be allowed to wash out the new 
canal." 1 '"' Cody often seemed angry at Beck during the building 
of the canal; he had left the project in Beck's hands and because 
of his location in the east could not understand the problems faced. 

Canal construction never progressed fast enough to satisfy Cody. 
When their town site was located, he was worried because the water 
from the canal was not available for the town. In 1899 he wrote 
that he "would like to know if you are going to work and fix up the 
main canal and bring water to Cody," and a month later said, "I 
for one propose to see that something is done this year." 10 He 
pleaded with Beck to get water on the land, something which should 
have been accomplished years before. In 1900 he still complained 
that water must be brought to the town and now the need was more 
urgent because soon an inspection of the canal would be made by 
the state. 17 

The unfavorable inspection report made by the new state engi- 
neer, Fred Bond, in 1901 is very revealing. He wrote Manager 

In reply to your request for an extension of time in which to com- 
plete the Cody canal I have to say that a personal investigation during 
the month of November just past, covering the work done on this canal 

14. Ibid. C. E. Hayden's startling discovery is found in letters from 
Hayden to George T. Beck, October 23 and 29, 1896. Beck Collection. 

15. Letter from William F. Cody to George T. Beck. October 21, 1898. 
The canal construction episode is based mainly on the letters of the engineers 
and directors. A letter book, 1896-1897, by C. E. Hayden, Engineer, is quite 
useful although references are mostly about details of canal construction. 
The Weekly Reports of Manager George T. Beck to the partners also offer 
useful information especially concerning the money shortages in 1897 and 
1898. Beck Collection. 

16. Letters from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, March 9 and April 
8, 1899. Beck Collection. 

17. Letters from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, March 12 and 13, 
1900. A letter of March 21, 1900, told Beck to see Alger and "fix the 
books," which, since it was written just before the State inspection, might 
cause concern about the total legality of their dealings. Beck Collection. 


and the lands irrigated thereunder, has shown that the work has not 
been prosecuted, nor where undertaken, completed in accordance with 
the requirements of the permit. For nearly half its proposed length 
there has been no construction whatever and a considerable proportion 
of that upon which work has been done, is totally inadequate to carry 
the water required and is neither substantial nor durable in character. 
About 1,800 acres of patented land and upwards of 15,000 acres of 
segregated land under this canal as projected, are wholly without water 
although the time within which these lands were to have been com- 
pletely under canal has expired. The waters of Shoshone river are 
being rapidly appropriated by those who are both able and anxious to 
put them to an immediate beneficial use, so that under these circum- 
stances and in justice to other appropriators already having acquired 
rights, I am of the opinion that no extension should be granted unless 
it be preceded by a thorough demonstration by the Shoshone Land 
and Irrigation Company not only of their interest but also of their 
ability to begin and complete this work without further delays. This 
can be best shown by the letting of contracts for the work and their 
early and continuous prosecution in the field thereafter. If on or 
before July first, 1902, this office becomes satisfied that this work is 
being pushed and will be completed without delay, an extension of 
time will be entered on the official records, otherwise such action will 
be taken as may be deemed proper in the premises. 18 

So far little had been accomplished and there was little promise that 
the canal would ever be finished. Bond pressed Beck and the 
company for a decision. The company directors decided to follow 
Bond's suggestions, but in spite of their renewed efforts the State 
Board of Land Commissioners refused again in 1903 to approve 
the canal. Several items, primarily widening and cleaning certain 
sections of the ditch, had to be completed first. 19 

In May, 1904, Beck indicated to the directors of the company 
that the canal was far better than the state engineer reported. De- 
fending himself in a letter to the directors, Beck stated that the 
canal was completed and that statements to the contrary by the 
state engineer were lies. He wrote that a Cody clique "have tried 
to do our Company injury, and have tried every method to have me 
removed from their way." 20 The only reason he gave for their 

18. Letter from Fred Bond to George T. Beck, December 26, 1901. 
Beck Collection. 

19. The Minutes of the Arid Land Board, February 22, 1901, show an 
extension of time was granted to August 18, 1904, but when notice was 
received that construction was completed the State Engineer was sent to 
check and reported negatively. The decision by the directors to finish the 
work is seen in letters from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, June 30 
and July 2, 1902. A newspaper article mentioned a "new extension" of fif- 
teen miles of canal to be built and the old structure repaired at a cost of 
$40,000, the engineer in charge to be Mr. Midthun. The Wyoming Stock- 
grower and Farmer, October 3, 1902. 

20. Letter from George T. Beck to the Directors, May 8, 1904. Beck 
said the clique included "Ridgely, Robinson, George Taylor, Calkins, and 
Frank Williams." Beck Collection. 


opposition was that, these men were supporting Chatterton for gov- 
ernor in the coming political campaign. 

Several more years of construction ensued until finally on June 
15, 1905, after considerable procrastination, the State Board de- 
cided to inspect the canal again. Clarence T. Johnston, the new 
state engineer, inspected the canal and reported favorably on Sep- 
tember 29, 1906. Also placed before the Board was a petition 
from some settlers against the acceptance of the canal, but it 
received little attention. Even Johnston's report was lukewarm; 
he said that the canal was not in the condition that he desired, but 
it was acceptable.- 1 He noted that there was an absence of any 
specific regulations to guide acceptance or rejection and the com- 
pany had met the general standards. After Johnston's report was 
read on September 29, 1906, the Board decided that the company 
had completed all the requirements and even some not required 
and therefore the canal should be accepted. With a great sigh of 
relief, the company turned the canal over to the settlers in Febru- 
ary 1907.*-' 2 They had learned that building a canal was no easy 
task. The construction of the ditch was only one aspect of their 
difficulties. The townsite, legal problems concerning water rights, 
the upkeep of the canal, the arduous task of obtaining settlers, and 
the internal conflicts and lawsuits of the company all brought 
splitting headaches to the investors. 

After construction had begun in 1895, those concerned were 
eager that a townsite be located. William F. Cody, upon a visit to 
the Basin that first winter and without informing the partners, 
decided to join some "interlopers'" who already had erected a few 
buildings. "I rather objected to this," commented Beck, "as I 
considered the townsite an asset to the ditch company.''- 3 Accord- 
ingly, Beck surveyed another townsite for the company and applied 
for the name "Shoshone" from the Post Office Department. Be- 
cause there already was a post office with that name in Wyoming, 
the Post Office Department refused his request, but the minor 
problem of naming the town was easily solved when Cody realized 
his mistake and decided to re-unite with his partners. Cody per- 
sonally wrote to the Post Office Department as president of the 

21. Minutes of the Arid Land Board, June 15, 1905 through September 
29, 1906. 

22. Directors' Meeting Report, February 25, 1908. After stating that the 
canal had been turned over to the settlers in February, 1907, the report 
formally declared: "It was moved, seconded, and carried, that the President 
take such steps as may be necessary to dissolve the Corporation and his 
action in such respect is hereby ratified." Beck Collection. 

23. Personal Reminiscences; also, Autobiography, pp. 109-110. 


company and requested that the town be named Cody. His request 
was granted and the company accepted the name. "It did no harm 
to us," wrote Beck, "and it highly pleased the Colonel." 24 

The directors of the company invested in projects to develop the 
new town and to make profits for themselves. William F. Cody 
built the famous Irma Hotel and a livery stable, established a news- 
paper, and settled on a ranch outside town. Bleistein, Rumsey, 
and Gerrans, the three partners from Buffalo, New York, invested 
heavily in the Cody Trading Company, for a long time the largest 
general store in the region.-"' George Beck, after his work as man- 
ager of the irrigation project was completed, introduced an electric 
plant and became the promoter of numerous Cody enterprises. 

The long years during the construction of the canal were difficult 
for the partners. As would be expected finances were always a 
problem of the company. Beck complained that at first no one 
contributed any money to the project and he had to handle the 
burden alone. Cody's friends knew that the famous scout suffered 
and one reported conversation went as follows: 

'Seems that the Big Horns need more and more money all the time,' 
Uncle Bill went on. 'Sometimes I think those guys up there are usin' 
my shovels t' bury my money with instead of diggin' ditches. I'm up 
t' my neck in debt an' the Lord only knows how I can crawl out.' 20 

The directors began optimistically enough and after completing 
organization placed sufficient money into Beck's hands to begin 
construction, to build and run the commissary, to pay the wages of 
the men, and to cover the inevitable miscellaneous expenses. Be- 
ginning in 1896 a severe shortage of capital developed and the 
directors voted to sell $30,000 in bonds. These depression years 
created a difficult situation for finding a purchaser, but Beck finally 
disposed of the bonds by seeking out an old friend of the family, 
Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, wife of Senator George Hearst of California. 
She took the bonds against her lawyer's wish and at a ten per cent 
discount.- 7 

Beck's account of the company's finances indicates that William 
F. Cody did not always give money to the project; once he bor- 

24. Ibid. 

25. Ibid. The Irma Hotel still stands in a somewhat modified state. 
Cody's newspaper, the Cody Enterprise, was operated by Col. lohn H. Peake 
and first opened in 1899. Unfortunately, early issues are unavailable. The 
Cody Trading Company was first managed by a Mr. Forbes from Buffalo, 
New York, then by Mr. Jake Schwoob, a well-known figure in Wyoming 

26. Muller, p. 89. 

27. Personal Reminiscences. Beck's correspondence each year included 
bills for the interest on the Hearst loan, substantiating his story. Only very 
incomplete treasurer's reports exist, offering little for reconstructing the 
company's financial history. 


rowed money from the company to help his Wild West Show — 
$4,000 from the Hearst loan. Even with this temporary loss. Beck 
said the loan was enough to complete the project: 

... I came back to Cody, and with that money loaned by Mrs. Hearst, 
I completed the canal. We later turned the canal over to the settlers, 
and it has probably been the most successful canal in the State. 28 

Unfortunately for the company, the situation was not as simple as 
Beck later remembered it to be. As the building of the canal 
dragged on, the partners faced one financial crisis after another. 
In 1 897 as an economy measure the directors even reduced Beck's 
salary as manager to $1,500 per year.- 1 ' Cody wrote in 1898 hop- 
ing they would be able to pay all their bills and the interest on the 
Hearst loan and concluded pessimistically that "I wish to God I 
had never seen the Basin." 30 H. M. Gerrans seemed as concerned 
as Cody when he wrote that "as far as I am individually concerned, 
as I have said a great many times before, I have put my limit into 
the scheme, and rather than put any more in will lose my stock." 31 
Cody's letters usually were filled with complaints about the slow- 
ness of canal construction and the enormous expenses. He often 
asked if Beck could collect money from the settlers for the main- 
tenance of the canal and told him "not to look to me for every- 
thing. " 3-J However, he always added, the money for work to pro- 
ceed would be sent. The other directors seemed to be inclined 
toward Gerrans' opinion and quit paying their share, leaving the 
financial load more and more to Cody. At least once Cody paid 
the $2,100 interest due on the Hearst loan, though he said he was 
considering the possibility of letting the Hearst's attorney, Edward 
Clark, close down on the company. 33 Protest notices continually 

28. Ibid. 

29. Letter from the Directors to George T. Beck, July 30, 1897. Beck 

30. Letter from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, June 8, 1898. Beck 

31. Letter from H. M. Gerrans to William F. Cody, March 14, 1899. 
Cody forwarded the letter to Beck. Gerrans added that he wished they 
could find "three or four rich fellows" to invest in the project. Beck Col- 

32. Letter from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, April 15, 1899. 
Beck Collection. 

33. Letter from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, June 12, 1899. The 
Buffalo men evidently were losing money on their great store. In a letter 
from H. M. Gerrans to William F. Cody, March 14. 1899, Gerrans said he 
would sell out for seventy-five cents on the dollar because "there is not 
trade enough in that country to warrant so large a store." Cody told Beck 
in a letter on June 12, 1899, that if these men would advertise and get decent 
management they wouldn't lose money and could pay their share in the irri- 
gation project. Beck Collection. 


reached the company for non-payment of its bills; the small 
amounts on these bills might indicate an acute state of indebted- 
ness. Time only made the situation worse. As the project was 
nearing completion in 1904, Bronson Rumsey was so worried that 
he wrote, ''Please George push this thing through for all your worth 

and lets get the d thing turned over to the state or settlers." 

He even proposed that they sell out to Mr. S. L. Wiley, a com- 
petitor, to rid themselves of the mess. 34 

According to Beck, part of their financial predicament was 
caused by the state law concerning water rights. The company 
was allowed to charge ten dollars per acre for perpetual water 
rights, but this was not enough to pay for construction. Though 
the rate was later increased to fifteen dollars and higher, most of the 
v/ater rights were sold for the earlier experimental prices. "When 
we finished and closed our books," Beck concluded, "we found 
that it had cost us about $22 [per acre]." 33 For the right to be 
first they had paid the difference. This might have been the reason 
for their financial embarrassment, but they also had faced unex- 
pected, expensive repairs and lawsuits and typically had under- 
estimated costs. 

Colonization was a great dilemma for the company. Settlers 
were difficult to secure and the company's promotional activity 
took time to organize. Previous to the building of the canal, popu- 
lation in the Big Horn Basin had been sparse. Some important 
cattlemen had been there for several years, but farmers were slow 
to enter the area. In 1890, when Big Horn County was created, 
the population of the region was estimated to be 3,500 persons. 36 
/ In April, 1896, lands under the Cody canal had been opened 
for settlement and shortly thereafter illustrated advertisements ap- 
peared in newspapers throughout the nation telling about the 
opportunities in Big Horn Basin. Buffalo Bill, world-famous scout, 
usually was mentioned as the sponsor of the entire project. Inter- 
ested persons who saw the exaggerated literature and wanted more 
information began writing the company as early as February, 1897, 

34. Letters from Bronson Rumsey to George T. Beck, May 14 and 16, 
1904. Beck Collection. For a brief description of the Wiley Project or the 
Big Horn Basin Development Company, see W. A. Bandy, "Ghosts Took 
Over the Tunnel." Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 38, No. 1, (April, 1966), 76-83. 
Wiley's project failed. 

35. Autobiography, p. 117. For a general discussion of the increase in 
rates see Lindsay, pp. 188-189. The Minutes of the Arid Land Board, De- 
cember 6. 1904. indicate that water rights under the Cody canal could be 
sold at thirty dollars per acre, a substantial increase above the original price. 

36. Big Horn County covered 10,400 square miles. The population 
estimate for this county at that time is from Leonard L. Gregory, "The 
History of Big Horn County, Wyoming," (unpublished Master's thesis, Uni- 
versity of Wyoming, 1959), p. 6. 


and by December, notices of entry on lands were received by the 
Board of Land Commissioners in Cheyenne." 7 

As a result of the massive promotion, queries were received by 
the company from prospective immigrants everywhere, especially 
from the midwest. To handle the great volume of projected busi- 
ness the company had to hire special agents. Probably in February, 
1897, Mr. D. H. Elliott was chosen as the company's Land Com- 
missioner. A flood of letters from prospective agents, asking ques- 
tions about the project and requesting copies of the promotional 
pamphlet, "Homes in the Big Horn Basin/' was received by the 
company." 8 Finally several were picked by Elliott to be the com- 
pany's local representatives. C. B. Jones, a key agent and head of 
the Wyoming Colonization Company, helped Elliott appoint local 
agents in the midwest. By March 28, 1897, he had appointed six 
and said he would appoint eight to ten more in Iowa "this week." 30 
The company's strategy was to advertise and hire local salesmen 
who would entice prospective settlers to travel to Cody to see 
the situation for themselves. Supposedly, upon returning to their 
homes, they would spread the excitement and a general migration 
would ensue. Unfortunately for the company this did not occur. 
Their problems concerning land sales became incredible. 

For perpetual water rights settlers paid ten dollars per acre on 
plots of forty to 160 acres. The agent received a five to seven-and- 
one-half per cent commission if the settler actually located under 
the canal. The land had to be purchased from the state, but the 
settler could purchase it only after he had made arrangements with 
the company for water rights. The settlers were given special 
payment plans, one-fifth down and the remainder to be paid semi- 
annually for five years. 40 The agents, working on this commission 
basis, labored steadily to get settlers to Cody. Special rates were 
obtained from the railroads to Red Lodge, Montana, where buggies 
awaited the prospective settlers to take them for an excursion to 

37. Minutes of the Arid Land Board. December 1, 1897; correspondence, 
1897-1907, Beck Collection. The exaggeration of the advertising is discussed 
by Lindsay, p. 189, who mentions a claim that Buffalo Bill was constructing 
a canal 100 miles long, that 5,000 people were to settle by June, 1897, and 
that soon thereafter the population would increase to 25,000 persons. 

38. For example, letters from Harry R. Woodall to William F. Cody, 
January 14 and 30, 1897; Woodall explained that he had seen their adver- 
tisement in the Sioux City Daily Times concerning 300,000 acres to be 
irrigated. Beck Collection. 

39. Letter from C. B. Jones to D. H. Elliott, March 29, 1897. Jones 
named men from Red Oak, Iowa; Villisca, Iowa: Clarinda, Iowa; Stuart, 
Iowa; Wahpeton, North Dakota; and York, Nebraska. Beck Collection. 

40. The company's contracts with settlers are in the Beck Collection. 
They reveal that to make final proof the settler had to have twenty acres 
plowed and irrigated and a residence built. State lands under the canal 
could be acquired even if the settler had filed under previous land acts. The 


Cody, but people hesitated to make the trip. The agents' letters 
during the spring and summer seasons contained reasonable claims 
that men in their locales were ready to make the journey. How- 
ever, when the time arrived for the fall excursion, no one made the 
trip. Elliott wrote despairingly, "And so it strings along, with 
promises of people to go, and others that are anxious to go and 
will go; but it seems a very difficult matter to get them to put up the 
money and get it actually in our hands." 41 

Elliott realized that Beck considered the land department an 
unnecessary expense and therefore the land commissioner tried 
every possible technique to obtain settlers. If even one of his 
colonization schemes had worked the area could have been settled. 
He attempted to interest Eugene V. Debs' Social Democracy Col- 
onization Scheme and corresponded with a Swedish Association in 
Chicago, but failed to secure their commitment. 42 Continual in- 
ability to deliver settlers as promised increased friction between 
Beck and Elliott; the Land Commissioner was also unhappy be- 
cause his wages were not being paid on schedule. 43 In his regular 
weekly reports to the Directors, Beck said Elliott's "ideas may be 
all right, but results are not speaking well for him and as his office 
is quite expensive, I think that we had better make some other 
arrangements." 44 His remarks were persuasive and the administra- 
tion was finally changed. On September 1, 1897, Beck wrote the 
agents that "all communications in the Land Department"' hence- 
forth were to be mailed directly to him, for he was personally taking 
control of the promotional activity. 45 

following statement indicates that the state was more concerned about bring- 
ing settlers to its land than following legalities: "Officially the Board can 
not recognize any contract except such as is provided under the law relating 
to arid lands. The state, however, needs settlers, and so does your company, 
and as you have the money invested, I do not see why the Board should 
interfere in any agreements that is [sic] satisfactory to you." Letter from 
W. A. Richards to D. H. Elliott, June 25, 1897. Beck Collection. 

41. Letter from D. H. Elliott to George T. Beck, August 3, 1897. Beck 

42. Eugene V. Debs, famous Socialist leader, hoped through a charity 
drive to colonize the poor in a social community. The Swedish Association 
was organized to help colonize immigrants. Letters from D. H. Elliott to 
George T. Beck and William F. Cody, July 8 and 30, 1897, tell of these and 
other schemes. Beck Collection. 

43. Letters from D. H. Elliott to George T. Beck and H. C. Alger, August 
12 and January 7, 1897. Beck Collection. 

44. Notes of George T. Beck for the week ending June 5, 1897. At this 
time the company was short of funds and construction was at a standstill. 
Beck thought the $150 per month for Elliott was too much; he also thought 
it was time to cancel Elwood Mead's $1,000 per year as consulting engineer. 
Beck Collection. 

45. Letter from George T. Beck to agents, September 1, 1897. A letter 
from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, March 12, 1898, indicated that 
C. B. Jones was selected as land commissioner to replace Elliott, but Beck 


The Land Department was quiet for a while, but exploded when 
the company in 1901 decided to contract with Galen Wallenberg 
of Chicago to take care of colonization. The agreement provided 
that the company would receive ten dollars per acre and Wallen- 
berg would keep the rest to a maximum of fifteen dollars total. 
The new salesman immediately became suspicious of the wording 
in the final contract. He assumed he was to have exclusive rights 
of sale, but Beck had changed the contract to allow the company 
to sell water rights as it desired. Soon Wallenberg complained of a 
sale Beck made for 6,000 acres. 4 ' 1 A critical point was reached 
when Wallenberg's colonists traveled to Cody and discovered that 
for another two years there would not be water on the lands which 
had been sold to them. The final break became imminent when in 
1905 Wallenberg threatened suit unless his commissions were 
honored and paid. 47 

For some time friendly and trusting letters continued to flow 
between Beck and Wallenberg, though Wallenberg became con- 
cerned because Beck ceased to sign the contracts for water rights. 
Suddenly on September 25, 1905, Beck formally disclaimed the 
agreement with Wallenberg. Wallenberg sued the company in the 
Cook County, Illinois, Superior Court for $35,000 in damages for 
breach of contract. 4 * The Wyoming company claimed the Cook 
County Court had no jurisdiction in the case. They also indicated 
that even though Beck and Cody had signed the contract, it had 
never been ratified by the directors. Beck, they added, had in- 
formed Wallenberg not to sell unless he could do so at three dollars 
commission per acre, not five dollars. The case was dismissed for 
lack of jurisdiction and the combatants then settled their differences 
out of court. 49 Both sides seemed to be partly wrong and both 
cases were built on shaky ground. 

stopped the plan because it did not solve the financial problem. Beck Col- 

46. Letters from G. Wallenberg to George T. Beck, March 14, 1901; 
January 18, 24, and 29, 1902. A copy of the original agreement signed by 
Wallenberg, Beck, and Cody is included in the letter of January 18, 1902. 
Beck Collection. 

47. Letters from G. Wallenberg to George T. Beck. July 2, 1902, and 
January 3, 1905. Beck Collection. 

48. Letter from H. M. Gerrans to George T. Beck, November 15, 1905. 
The notes of the directors' meeting, December 15, 1904, indicate the com- 
pany had not ratified the contract, but some records were scratched out. 
The plaintiffs case was that Wallenberg had sold 5,600 acres, was not al- 
lowed to sell the remainder, and was not paid $30,000 due him. Letter from 
Fred W. Bently to W. H. Walls, attorney, November 14, 1907. Beck Col- 

49. Letter from Fred W. Bently to W. H. Walls, attorney, November 24, 
1907, and letter from G. Wallenberg to William F. Cody, November 12, 
1907. Beck Collection. 


Lawsuits plagued the company during the last years of their 
canal construction. They faced courtroom action from the colo- 
nists as well as from their agents. In 1906 the company was pre- 
paring to close its books and turn the canal over to the colonists, 
but unfortunately a water shortage in 1906 was blamed on im- 
proper construction of the canal. When one settler made a test 
case and won, the whole party of farmers sued. They argued that 
due to faulty construction the canal filled with silt and therefore 
the company was liable for the destruction of their crops. Most 
of the cases were settled out of court. These farmers collectively 
owed the company about $20,000 in water rights contracts, but the 
debts were cancelled as each farmer sued and received his state- 
ment for his efforts. 50 

After the lawsuits over the water rights only the town site re- 
mained for the partners' profit. Agents were named and town lots 
were placed for sale at prices from $100 to $750. Problems again 
resulted when the Burlington Railroad became involved. Beck 
brought the railroad's proposal to the attention of the directors: 

Mr. Chas. Morill. Pres. of the Lincoln Land Company and Mr. Cal- 
vert, Supt. of the B & M R. R. were both here and made us a proposi- 
tion concerning the town of Cody, — that they would take one-half of 
the same and pay us $10. per acre, if they concluded to make this a 
railroad point, and if we accepted, which we did, that in case they 
made another town, they would sell us one-half interest on the same 
condition that we offered them regarding Cody, i. e. that we should 
have one-half interest in said town at actual cost of the same to them. 
Mr. Morrill has written and telegraphed me, requesting me to come at 
once to Lincoln to discuss this business and make some final arrange- 
ments; I leave for that point tomorrow.-" 11 

The proposal was accepted — the railroad wanted town lots in Cody 
and the directors wanted the railroad to come to Cody. The com- 
pany was forced to agree, said Beck, or the railroad would have 
built "'another town of their own." 52 

The Lincoln Land Company, a subsidiary organization of the 

50. Orin McGhan made the test case and was awarded $872. The actual 
receipts still due the company on December 8, 1906. totalled $31,001.06 
according to the minutes of the Directors' meeting. After the lawsuits the 
few notes yet due were turned over to Bronson Rumsey, trustee, and were 
used to repay the Hearst loan. Beck Collection. 

51. Report to the directors by George T. Beck, June 1, 1900. First 
organized to sell property of the railroad in Nebraska in 1880, this company 
extended its operations into Wyoming when the railroad went there. "The 
complete story of the nature and function of these companies must await 
further research," wrote Richard C. Overton in Burlington West: A Col- 
onization History of the Burlington Railroad (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard 
University Press, 1941), p. 473. The officers of the Lincoln Land Company 
were also officials of the Burlington: Charles E. Perkins, President; C. H. 
Morrill, Vice-President; and A. B. Minor, Secretary-Treasurer. 

52. Personal Reminiscences. 


Burlington Railroad, advertised and sold lots in Cody with Beck as 
their local agent. Work on their 131 mile branch to Cody began 
in the spring on 1 900 and was completed on November 1 1 . 1901. 53 
The complete relationship between the irrigation company and the 
railroad is unknown. As their agent, Beck was told what prices to 
charge and informed about details of title transfers and water rights 
contracts. The railroad's statements revealed an authoritative tone 
and once they even threatened to move the entire town of Cody.'' 4 
Some correspondence indicates that the Shoshone Land and Irri- 
gation Company turned all its town property over to the Lincoln 
Land Company to sell. 55 The railroad's land company sold town 
lots in Cody at least through 1914. Agent Beck used his free 
passes on the Burlington as frequently as possible during the whole 

Because of an expose, Beck's reputation suffered during the 
irrigation entanglements. It came in the form of a novel written in 
1912 by the outspoken Caroline Lockhart. 5 ' 1 There is no doubt 
whom she is referring to in her romantic novel, The Lady Doc. 
In fact, she freely admitted that the characters in her story were 
Cody residents: Andy P. Symes was George T. Beck and the Lady 
Doc was Dr. Frances Lane. 57 The complicated plot of the novel 
does not concern this discussion, but her criticisms of Beck are 

As the title suggests, the novel is about a lady doctor, Dr. Emma 
Harpe, a villain who devastatingly struck the small town of Crow- 
heart. Besides being a quack she blackmailed an irrigation pro- 
moter, Andy P. Symes, forcing him to give her a contract to care 
for the men working on the irrigation project. Her hospital ex- 
penses and a fine profit were forcibly deducted from the workers' 
wages. She knew nothing about medicine and her hospital became 

53. Richard C. Overton, Burlington Route: A History of the Burlington 
Lines (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965), p. 233. 

54. Letter from the Lincoln Land Company to George T. Beck, March 
22, 1901. Beck Collection. 

55. A statement of Lincoln Land Company sales in Cody, January 18, 
1906, shows Bronson Rumsey was paid $12,679.05 as the trustee for the 
irrigation company. Another statement mentions trustee Rumsey holding 
half interest in Cody town sites. Evidently, the money was used to pay the 
debts of the company. Beck Collection. 

56. Caroline Lockhart, The Lady Doc (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott 
Company, 1912). Some biographical information is available in the Wyo- 
ming State Archives and Historical Department, Cheyenne. 

57. Letter from Caroline Lockhart to Dr. T. A. Larson, June 6, 1958. 
Dr. Larson, leading authority on the history of Wyoming, wrote Miss Lock- 
hart concerning her novel; in her answer she concluded, "I drew as accurate 
a picture of Cody and its people as I could and keep out of jail." 


a death trap. Men suffering from accidental injuries while build- 
ing the canal went into the hospital; because of mistreatment, when 
they left the hospital they usually went to the cemetery. 

Caroline Lockhart's description of Andy P. Symes was not 
exactly flattering, though it contains some basic truths: 

. . . the trained and sensitive observer would have felt capabilities for 
boorishness beneath his amiability, a lack of sincerity in his impartial 
and too fulsome compliments. His manner denoted a degree of social 
training and a knowledge of social forms acquired in another than his 
present environment, but he was too fond of the limelight — it cheap- 
ened him; too broad in his attentions to women — it coarsened him; his 
waistcoat was the dingy waistcoat of a man of careless habits; his linen 
was not too immaculate and the nails of his blunt fingers showed lack 
of attention. He was the sort of man who is nearly, but not quite, a 
gentleman. r,s 

With the smooth fluency of a great speaker, he persuaded all lis- 
teners of the profitable future which would follow his irrigation 
project : 

His florid face turned a deeper red, his eyes sparkled as the winged 
imagination of the natural promoter began to play. It was the dirigible 
kind, Symes's imagination, he could steer it in any direction. It could 
rise to any heights. It now shot upward and he saw himself as the 
head of a project which would make his name a household word 
throughout the State. . . r, ° 

Symes, a promoter, was not idle "in a land where Capital hung like 
an overripe peach waiting to be plucked." 60 He went to the east to 
lure the capitalists and settlers to his project: 

In his wide-brimmed Stetson, with his broad shoulders towering 
above the average man, his genial smile and jovial manner, he was the 
typical free, big-hearted westerner of the eastern imagination. And he 
liked the role; also he played it well. Symes was essentially a poseur. 
He loved the limelight like a showman. 61 

Symes was not the villain of the novel, but according to Lockhart 
he did have dishonest business practices. "If he was given a con- 
fidential discount upon machinery for which he charged the com- 
pany full price, was he not entitled to the difference?" 62 Symes' 
dishonesty is always strongly implied, but even Miss Lockhart had 
some good to say of him. He had some morals and the blackmail 
by the Lady Doc shocked him. Her hospital scheme "outraged his 
sense of decency." 63 He was forced to agree to her scheme, but 
later took the opposite stand. At the close of the novel the Lady 

58. Lockhart, p. 29. 

59. Lockhart. p. 52. 

60. Ibid., p. 45. 

61. Ibid. 

62. Ibid., p. 249. 

63. Ibid., p. 155. 


Doc had failed into shame and Symes had lost his control over the 
irrigation project. 

The story, as is the prerogative of the novelist, is a strange en- 
tanglement of historical events. Dr. Frances Lane, the real lady 
doctor in Cody, began her practice there after Beck's irrigation 
project had been underway for a considerable time. The town ex- 
pressed its "full confidence" in her. ,!1 Her hospital was not opened 
until several years after her arrival in Cody and was described as 
"large, airy, well lighted," by the newspaper. "' It appears that her 
hospital contract was to furnish medical services at the federal 
government's reclamation project, not for Beck's earlier ditch con- 
struction. 60 Lockhart's open charges against Beck and Dr. Lane, 
especially those concerning the hospital blackmail, probably can be 
discounted completely. 

The question of Beck's dishonesty as implied by Miss Lockhart 
merits consideration. Certain contemporary evidence would indi- 
cate a conclusion opposite to that of the novelist. If any person 
had reason to complain about Beck, it was William F. Cody, who 
poured his money into the irrigation ditch. He was often angry at 
Beck, but his temper was aimed more directly at the project's 
turtle-pace. There is no evidence that shows Cody ever doubted 
Beck's honesty and sincerity and they remained friends after the 
canal was finished. Cody once wrote the following testimony to 

Your letter grieves me. You say that the people who have repre- 
sented me there, have made it their business to interfere with you in 
every way — and claiming it was my orders. George this is painful 
news to me and I regret that you have not mentioned it before. Ask 
my sister if I didn't tell her that if she wanted a friend to go to you. 
That you were closer to me than any man in Cody. That I thought 
more of George T. Beck than any man I knew. When things looked 
dark to us in our early struggles building our canal, I used to get 
nervous and think you should show more energy. But your honesty 
and ability I never doubted. And as a man and a friend I have always 
admired you and I have never instructed a living person to do you an 
injury and when I come to Cody I will face any of them and throw 
the lie in their teeth. 6 " 

64. The Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, December 9, 1902. The 
article welcomed Dr. Frances Lane, "our new physician." 

65. Ibid., May 7, 1905. The hospital was opened by Dr. Frances M. 
Lane and Dr. J. T. Bradbury. 

66. Ibid., April 4, 1906. The article entitled "Sanitary Conditions are 
Good" said Lane had a contract to serve the government project and the 
new sulphur works near town. Beck was probably part-owner of the sul- 
phur works. Beck and Lane were close friends; Caroline Lockhart, it might 
be added, was in town at this time according to a note in the May 2, 1906, 

67. Letter from William F. Cody to George T. Beck, May 23, 1906. 
Beck Collection. 


Perhaps it should be added that this letter is not unusual in its 
estimation of George T. Beck. This should not be considered a 
whitewash of his career; there are times when the activities of an 
entrepreneur will appear dishonest. 

The partners did not make the profits Elwood Mead had pre- 
dicted for them, nor did they lose everything. Considering the 
number of complete failures among the early irrigation schemes, 
the Cody project might be labeled a success. Typically, estimates 
of costs had been low and problems which might eat into profits 
were ignored during the planning stages. Concerning the canal's 
success the state engineer in 1909 reported the following: 

This project was not only the first Carey Act undertaking in Wyoming, 
but was the first enterprise initiated under the National statutes. It 
has probably afforded more instruction to those interested in work of 
this kind than any other undertaking. The first segregation embraced 
an area of 26,429.94 acres. Some of these lands have been found too 
rough for reclamation, and about 13,000 will ultimately be irrigated. 
At the present time fully 10,000 acres are under irrigation and the 
settlers are prosperous and well contented. 68 

Beck said he believed it to be "the most successful ditch that has 
been built in Wyoming."'*' This may be an exaggeration but the 
canal is still in use today. 

Cody, Wyoming, was still a small town; in 1905 one estimate 
indicated a population of 1,220. 70 The number of settlers in- 
creased when the federal government entered the region with the 
reclamation project. William F. Cody and his partner, Nate Sals- 
bury, had segregated lands north of the Shoshone River for a sec- 
ond irrigation project and now were easily persuaded to relinquish 
their claim. 71 The federal government gladly received the lands 
and in 1904-1905 began construction of a large dam in the river 
canyon about eight miles west of Cody. The government's greater 
financial resources allowed it to construct irrigation projects not 

68. Clarence T. Johnston, p. 43. 

69. Autobiography, p. 118. 

70. The Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, December 20, 1905, re- 
ported that Cody had eighty-seven residents in 1900 and a population of 
1,220 in 1905. 

71. Letter from Frank Mondell to George T. Beck, February 16, 1904, 
Beck Collection. The document of relinquishment received much publicity 
and is reprinted in Charles A. Welch, Histoi-y of the Big Horn Basin (Deseret 
News Press, 1940), p. 59. Accounts of the government project can be found 
in George W. James, Reclaiming the Arid West: The Story of the United 
States Reclamation Service (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1917), 
pp. 351-365; and Arthur P. Davis, Irrigation Works Constructed by the 
United States Government (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1917), 
pp. 377-390. 


feasible for private corporations. When finished in 1910 the dam 
was considered one of the largest in the world and assisted in mak- 
ing farming in the Cody area a profitable business. 

Beck and Cody's private irrigation ditch was completed. Though 
Beck was the "moving genius" of the project, at times he seemed 
almost detached from it. 72 He was the manager: he surveyed the 
land, organized the company, supervised the building of the ditch, 
directed the colonization, fought the lawsuits, and took the blame 
for failure. Too often sole credit for the canal's success is given to 
the company's president, William F. Cody. Certainly Cody con- 
tributed more than his share of the money and provided valuable 
advertising, but Beck guided the spending and promotional cam- 
paign. This project, because Beck worked so intensely with it for a 
long period of time, is the best single example of his entrepreneurial 

During the election campaign for the state legislature in 1906 
the name of George T. Beck appeared on the list of candidates. 
When one newspaper enumerated the candidates and their voca- 
tions Beck appeared simply as a "capitalist. " 73 There was a good 
reason for such a classification; George T. Beck already was known 
as Cody's foremost innovator and investor. While working on the 
irrigation project he had lost his Beckton ranch through fore- 
closure. 74 However, he had acquired a new ranch near Cody which 
he used for his race horses. There were about one hundred horses, 
including his thoroughbred stallion, Dalgetty, and his young racer, 
Wyo. For several years the latter horse brought profits to his 
owner, but the ranch, like most of his other enterprises, was mort- 
gaged. 75 

More important than his ranch were his new activities in the 
town of Cody. A boarding house and commissary, under his 

72. Lindsay, p. 188, called Beck the "moving genius" of the project. 

73. The Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, October 25, 1906. 

74. See "Ranching in the Big Horns: George T. Beck, 1856-1894," 
Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 39, No. 2, (October, 1967), 157-185, for the 
background to this episode. Malcolm Moncreiffe wrote a letter to Beck, 
March 6, 1910, in an attempt to clear up the title to certain lands and men- 
tioned the foreclosure proceedings of 1898. Beck later identified the pur- 
chaser as "Archibald Forbes, former Governor-General of the Philippines" 
in Hayden, p. 25. 

75. Information concerning the ranch is scarce. A grazing permit allow- 
ing one hundred horses to use the Yellowstone Forest Reserve was signed 
by A. A. Anderson, April 22, 1904. Beck's brand is mentioned as a frown- 
ing quarter-circle over an upside down T. A letter from Claus Spreckels, 
Western Sugar Refining Company, to Beck, July 2, 1897, said the horse 
"Wyo" broke down in the last race; Spreckels enclosed Beck's third of the 
winnings and $500 for the sale of the horse. A letter from John Winterling 
to Beck, April 19, 1905, mentioned the mortgage. Beck Collection. 


supervision, operated for several years. As the town grew, Beck 
worked to develop other worth-while enterprises which would grow 
with the town; for example, he helped organize the First National 
Bank of Cody. 76 He was at one time vice-president of the bank, 
but his most important business in the town was his electric plant. 

Beck had experience with electric works in Buffalo, Wyoming, 
and it was natural that he should turn to this in Cody. His account 
of the establishment of the electric plant was simplified to this 

The commissary and hotel having been disposed of, left me practically 
with nothing to do. As I had run levels all along the river, I knew of 
a place opposite the town where I could get twenty feet fall in half a 
mile, so I concluded to build an electric light and power plant. I tried 
to get some of our directors to go in with me, but they all laughed at 
the idea. So I mortgaged the farm that I had taken up on the flat 
south of Cody, sold bonds to Mr. Wm. Hinkle Smith of Philadelphia, 
and with that I built the power plant. 77 

On March 9, 1904, the city of Cody authorized him to build and 
operate the electric utility; the city's terms allowed him eight 
months to built the structure and they retained the option to pur- 
chase the plant after each five year period. 78 Beck already had 
applied to the state for permission to divert water from the Sho- 
shone River through "The George T. Beck Power Ditch" and he 
quickly accepted the terms given by the city. He had difficulty 
obtaining financial support because his old friend, William Hinckle 
Smith, was not inclined to invest even though he agreed that Beck 
seemed "to have been successful in getting franchises and other 
rights." 79 After Beck sent estimates and plans, Smith finally in- 
vested the needed $10,000. 

The Shoshone Electric Light and Power Company was incorpor- 
ated with a capital stock of $30,000. In the first distribution Beck 
had 298 of the 300 shares, each share worth a hundred dollars. 
From the beginning the company suffered large expenses with the 

76. The Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, September 13, 1905, listed 
Beck as a director of the Bank. The organization of the bank is mentioned 
in a letter from John Winterling to Beck, May 27, 1904. Beck Collection. 

77. Personal Reminiscences. William Hinckle Smith was a member of 
the survey party for the irrigation ditch but did not invest in that project. 
He was a banker from Philadelphia. 

78. Copies of the city ordinance and contract are in the Beck Collection. 
If the city decided to purchase the plant, a committee of three from outside 
the county were to determine a fair price. The city would choose one 
member, Beck a second, and the two thus chosen would agree on a third. 
A previous ordinance had granted the electric franchise to a Montana pro- 
moter, but he never took advantage of it. The Wyoming Stockgrower and 
Farmer, July 14, 1903. 

79. Letter from William Hinckle Smith to George T. Beck, March 15, 
1904. Beck Collection. 


interest on Smith's loan leading the list. It took some time to get 
the electric business operating: 

The first six months I had a rather hard time trying to get people to 
take electric lights, and many of the big saloons still ran lamps. But 
after six months, it began to pay expenses, and gradually grew in a few 
years to be more than self-sustaining. 80 

Beck wanted to expand the business, but Smith held him back 
telling him to perfect the plant first. One of Beck's wilder expan- 
sion schemes utilizing his electric company was to build an "electric 
road" to Yellowstone Park. 

The first records indicating the size of the electric business show 
a gross income of $16,338.60 and a net income of $3,393.10. The 
company grew steadily and in 1911 these figures had increased to 
$20,284 and $4,120 respectively. 81 In 191 1 Beck hired one of his 
wife's relatives, Dallas Tinkcom, to manage the plant and granted 
him one share of stock in the company. The growth was evident, 
but the company remained in debt and in 1913 had to issue 
bonds. 82 

The first attempt by the city of Cody to exercise its option to 
purchase the company came in 1913. Beck made the city's de- 
cision an issue in the city elections of that year by opposing B. W. 
Bennett who had been clerk of the town council and was now 
running for mayor. 83 Bennett won the election in spite of Beck's 
opposition, but the city's decision was reversed for reasons un- 
known and Beck retained ownership of the plant. The same situa- 
tion occurred in 1924 and Beck again opposed the incumbents. 
Three of his friends, including Dallas Tinkcom, ran for office with 
the electric light franchise as an issue. This time Beck's strength 
showed; they won and the option was reversed again. 84 Beck 
wrote in his diary that the results of the election were "very satis- 
fying." 85 Progress could not be halted, however, and it seemed 

80. Personal Reminiscences. 

81. The Tax Returns of the Shoshone Electric Light and Power Com- 
pany, 1909 and 1911. Beck Collection. 

82. Notes of the Stockholders' Meeting, June 3, 1913. Fifty bonds 
worth $500 each were issued; of these bonds, Smith received twenty-eight 
and the First National Bank of Cody ten. The company continually de- 
faulted on Smith's interest due each year. In 1917 a short crisis occurred 
because of this and they issued a new set of bonds worth $25,000. Letters 
from William Hinckle Smith to Shoshone Electric Light and Power Com- 
pany, July 11, 1918, and Notes of the Directors' Meeting, June 25, 1919. 
Beck Collection. 

83. Letter from W. J. Deegan to George T. Beck, May 14, 1913. Beck 

84. Letter from C. O. Marsh to George T. Beck, December 29, 1924. 
Beck Collection. 

85. Diary of 1924, entry on May 1. Beck's later years can be traced in 
detail through his diaries, but the information supplied by them is more 


inevitable that the city would take control of the plant. In 1925 a 
new contract gave Beck ten years during which the city could not 
interfere with his property, but after that decade the city had the 
option to purchase the plant at any time after giving a six-month 
notice of their intent. 86 In 1925 the principal on Smith's loan came 
due and in order to pay the debt, Beck had to sell the distributing 
plant to the city. 87 Piece by piece the city was getting control. 

It was in the mid-1 930's that the city finally purchased the plant. 
Beck did not make great profits from his ownership of the plant, 
but his modest salary and profits as owner provided enough for 
comfort. 88 He had to fight to protect his investment, not only from 
the city but also from the U. S. Reclamation Service. They once 
provided electricity to the Burlington Railroad, but Beck was able 
to stop their competition after calling in the aid of the Wyoming 
Public Service Commission. 89 He claimed his plant could provide 
sufficient power and thus there was no need for the federal compe- 
tition. Actually Beck had to purchase power from the Reclama- 
tion Service for resale. His plant increased in value through the 
years and finally was purchased by the city in 1935 for over 
$40,000. 90 

Beck was known in Cody simply as the owner of the light plant. 
His electric plant popularly was called the "Green Front" and 
was the place for Beck and other important men of the town to 
meet, play cards, and socialize. In 1897 Beck married Daisy 
Sorenson and they subsequently had three children: Betty, Jane, 

useful for his personal life than his entrepreneurial activities. Beck Col- 

86. A copy of the new contract is in the Beck Collection; the old and 
original contract expired in 1925. 

87. The principal was $10,000, but the interest had increased the debt to 
$14,770. Letters from William Hinckle Smith to George T. Beck, June 30, 
1924, and June 3, 1923, and from George T. Beck to William Hinckle Smith, 
June 1, 1925. Beck Collection. 

88. Records of Yearly Expenses and Receipts, 1918-1923. Beck's salary 
was $3,000 and Dallas Tinkcom received $2,400. The records are spotty 
and inadequate for a detailed statement. Beck Collection. 

89. A good survey of the struggle between Beck and the Reclamation 
Service is in a letter from the Department of the Interior, U. S. Reclamation 
Service, to M. Goshen, Chairman of the State Commission, October 17, 
1923. There is also a series of letters between Beck and the Wyoming 
Public Service Commission throughout 1923. Beck Collection. 

90. Letter from U. S. Department of the Interior to M. Goshen, October 
17, 1923, revealed Beck's purchase of electric power from the government. 
Beck's plant was remodeled in 1928 enhancing its value. The Clerk of the 
town of Cody informed Beck of the city's decision on November 30, 1934; 
an undated sample ballot asking whether the town should purchase the plant 
listed its price as $43,108. Beck Collection. 


and George, Jr. 91 Beck, considered the social leader of the town, 
had built a fine home which was one of the town's main at- 
tractions. ! *- 

George T. Beck was the town's best promoter. He was a founder 
of the dynamic Cody Club which actively worked to build an in- 
dustrial Cody. As president of the Cody Club he developed some 
interesting advertising techniques. Once, for example, the news- 
paper reported that "President Beck of the Cody Club has caused a 
large sign to be erected at Worland inviting disappointed home- 
seekers there to come here." !,a 

During large portions of every year Beck was absent from Cody, 
but even when he was in Cody the people generally did not realize 
the multitude of activities in which he was engaged. Beck was 
involved in an almost unbelievable array of enterprises. He had 
retained ownership of many town lots, but only dabbled in real 
estate. In addition to the Cody lands, he owned real estate in 
Superior, Wisconsin, acquired through his inheritance.'-' 1 He invest- 
ed small amounts of money; for example, he had an interest in the 
First National Bank and the Park Loan and Investment Com- 
pany. !,r ' In 1912 he and other Cody businessmen created the Cody 
Garage Company. He was president of the stockholders of the 
Enterprise Printing Company of Cody in 1913 and was also in the 
Pioneer Builders Association of Cody. 96 He became very inter- 
ested in a waterproofing patent and tried to organize the Wet-No 
Waterproofing Company. Samples of his waterproofed canvas 
were sent to many potential customers including the U. S. Army in 

91. Daisy Sorenson was secretary for the Shoshone Irrigation Company 
and it was there the romance developed. The children are still living: Mrs. 
Betty Beck Roberson lives in Pacific, Washington; Mrs. Jane Beck Johnson 
lives in Washington, D. C; George T. Beck, Jr., is the Postmaster at Cody, 
Wyoming. All three graduated from the University of Wyoming. 

92. The great house was recently destroyed, but a picture can be found 
in A. G. Lucier, Pictorial Souvenir of Cody Wyoming (Powell, Wyo.: A. G. 
Lucier, n. d.), p. 21. 

93. The Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, July 26, 1906. His help in 
founding the Cody Club is authenticated in an earlier issue, January 7, 1906. 

94. Letter from Stroud-McMahon Company of Superior, Wisconsin, to 
Mrs. Bettie Beck Goodloe of Washington, D. C, February 19, 1913. George 
and his sister owned the lands together. Stroud-McMahon inquired about 
purchasing several town lots for $1,200. Beck Collection. 

95. Letters from H. R. Weston to George T. Beck, July 6, 1910, and Mr. 
Pearson of the Lincoln Land Company to Beck, November 4, 1911. Beck 

96. Notice of the stockholders' meeting of the Enterprise Printing Com- 
pany to be held April 12, 1913, was sent by secretary William H. Simpson 
to Beck, and revealed that Beck was president of the organization. The 
Pioneer Builders Association is discussed in letters from Ernest J. Goppert 
to George T. Beck, December 11, 1926, and December 31, 1929. Beck 


an attempt to get contracts. The notion was dropped and Beck 
merely waterpoofed the canvas tops of his friends' automobiles. 97 
He even helped organize the Skin Cura Company to make a med- 
icine to cure eczema. !)s These few examples indicate his activity 
as an investor, from the responsible to the absurd. 

Minerals were a major concern throughout Beck's life. Gold 
had been the original motive for moving west. The directors of the 
irrigation company had attempted to gain control of the mineral 
rights in the Cody area, but their ventures had not been exactly 
successful. In 1900 Mr. Hudson W. Durrah caused concern when 
the directors discovered he had filed on "their" coal lands. Earlier 
he had contended with the company over timber rights. The issue 
over the coal finally was taken to court. The case was dismissed 
once, but Durrah pursued his claim until finally the attorney gen- 
eral of Wyoming became involved. In the complicated proceed- 
ings Durrah emerged victorious, but now the Lincoln Land Com- 
pany became involved and the suit continued. William F. Cody 
asked Beck to give Charles E. Perkins and George Holdrege of the 
Burlington Railroad stock in the coal mining company for their 
support in the case; Cody had also asked Beck to provide Senator 
Manderson with stock as he could be helpful." Beck said this case 
was responsible for the break in the canal mentioned earlier; the 
canal suspiciously broke just as he was ready to testify in the protest 
case. 100 Such litigation certainly was not an auspicious start for 
Beck's mining investments. 

The De Maris Spring development ended similarly. These hot 
springs located west of Cody were a great attraction to health- 

97. A series of letters concerning the Wet-No Company began on April 
2, 1913 and ended on December 9, 1913. Details of the involved proceed- 
ings can be gleaned in part from Beck's diaries, 1913 to 1916. In the latter 
he wrote the formula: '*6 parts paraphene, 1 part fish oil deodorized-non 
drying, melt together, dissolve 6 ounces in a gallon of good gasoline." Beck 

98. Diary of 1921, entries for February 19 and August 17. It was a 
small Cody firm; Beck wrote on August 17 that he put "another $100" into 
it. His entry of March 7, 1921 said the founders were Mr. W. N. Green, 
Dr. Lane, Jack Evans, Dallas and William Tinkcom, Harry Robinson, and 
himself. Beck Collection. 

99. Letters from C. H. Morrill to George T. Beck, October 24 and 
December 1, 1900; William F. Cody to George T. Beck, March 1 and 5, 
1900. Durrah had previously (1897) established a lumberyard and mill in 
Cody and had given the company trouble concerning timber rights. Now 
he and F. L. Houx were mentioned in a letter from George T. Beck to 
William F. Cody, January 14, 1900, as filing on coal lands. The compli- 
cated court maneuvers can be found in a letter from J. A. Van Orsdel, 
attorney general of Wyoming, to George T. Beck, February 24, 1900. Dur- 
rah evidently made a protest case concerning the canal lands hoping the 
company would drop its contest over the coal. Beck Collection. 

100. Report to the Directors by George T. Beck, August 1, 1900. Beck 


seekers. When the railroad surveyed the area C. H. Morrill dis- 
covered that Charles De Maris had filed on the wrong land. De 
Maris had settled on the springs, but his land title was lor a differ- 
ent section. Morrill purchased the eighty acres from the govern- 
ment. As Morrill's agent, Beck held the title which he then offered 
to De Maris for $4,000, but De Maris refused to purchase it. In 
Jy20 Mrs. De Maris still claimed ownership of the springs, but 
William Hinckle Smith and Beck now held the title. Smith asked 
Beck to instigate action in court because "there would be consider- 
able prejudice against, me as an Easterner attempting to secure 
control of the property to the disadvantage of Mrs. De Maris." 101 
The outcome of the case is not clear, but it portrays again the legal 
difficulties surrounding Beck's investments. Legal title to mineral 
rights always seemed to be a major concern. 

The Beck Mining Company at Atlantic City, Wyoming, indicates 
that gold remained one of Beck's interests throughout his life. 
Little information is available about this company, but it was in 
operation in 1910 and 1911, shipping ore to Omaha, Nebraska. 102 
Beck's other gold schemes seldom developed beyond the planning 
stage. He worked with a unique machine invented by C. J. Reed 
for placer gravels, but there was little gold to be found in the Cody 
gravel. 10 " Another important investment was in the Findley Ridge 
Mining and Power Company of Dahlonega, Georgia, to which Beck 
made many long trips. 104 

Black gold became more important to Beck than the metal. In 
1901 Cody businessmen began the development of the nearby oil 
fields. The Cody Oil and Development Company, with George T. 
Beck as president, was organized with one million shares worth one 
dollar each. The newspaper reported that G. A. Pully "found an 
oil spring two miles from Cody" which produced oil "in such quan- 
tities that the pure product has been collected by the gallon" and 

101. Letter from William Hinckle Smith to George T. Beck, February 
7. 1920. The De Maris Springs story is told in Beck's Personal Remi- 
niscences. Beck Collection. 

102. Materials on the Beck Mining Company can be found in the Beck 
Collection. The company had printed forms for daily and monthly reports, 
but most are empty. Surviving are a few notices of assays and prices from 
The American Smelting and Refining Company of Omaha. 

103. Letters from E. A. Howard to George T. Beck, November 28, 1913 
and January 6, 1914. Beck went to San Francisco to test the machine. E. 
A. Howard and George Holdrege, both involved with the "gold machine", 
wrote letters on Burlington Railroad stationery indicating a connection be- 
tween Beck and the railroad was maintained. Beck Collection. 

104. Letter from Charles Sumner, vice-president and general manager, to 
George T. Beck, January 20 and March 3, 1916. Beck's diary for 1916 
reveals he was in Georgia several times. Other gold schemes are indicated 
in letters from the French River Mining Company to George T. Beck, 1912 
to 1929: and F. L. Houx, Comstock Gold, Inc., to George T. Beck, October 
31. 1931. Beck Collection. 


added that the new company was "no wildcat affair, organized for 
the purpose of selling stock to suckers." 105 The familiar names of 
George Bleistein and Bronson Rumsey appeared in the list of stock- 
holders. The first well was "such a success" that a second one was 
drilled. 10 ''' Beck was excited by the oil fever. He leased lands 
from the government in his name and in the names of all others 
who would allow him to do so. The Oregon Basin near Cody was 
the center of his activity. William Hinckle Smith became worried 
in 1911, because, he wrote, the government was changing its inter- 
pretation about filings under the Placer Mining Laws. Smith de- 
cided he no longer could allow Beck to use his name or the names 
of his friends. "I do not want to get into a position where I could 
get into trouble by running counter to the present interpretation of 
the law, and in order to avoid any possibility of this, I want you to 
omit using my name." 107 Beck's leases remained large in number, 
however, and oil companies constantly considered drilling on his 

Beck began somewhat conservatively, but soon became reckless 
and was involved in oil projects everywhere. He was not a million- 
aire and so used the money of other wealthy men. The organiza- 
tion of the Ptolmey Corporation in New York City was typical. 
"Governor George T. Beck, the well known geologist" and "John 
McDullahan, oil production engineer" were in the company on a 
"profit-sharing basis." 108 Because of his "machine" which located 
oil, Beck was considered a geologist. Hopeful investors asked him 
to join their companies. The usual arrangements stated that Beck 
would receive about one-quarter interest "in any lease. Drilling 
Contracts, or Commissions on any lands acquired subsequent to 
your examination, that you have recommended as possible Mineral 
or Oil or Gas producing Properties." 100 Beck's diaries from 1914 
to 1922 show him traveling constantly across the United States 
searching for oil. Investing little but time (even his expenses were 
paid) he attempted to locate oil for dozens of small oil companies 
in New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. For 
several years he practically lived in Beaumont, Texas, near the 

105. Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, October 10, 1902. 

106. Ibid., August 11 and October 27, 1903. The well was not as suc- 
cessful as they first thought according to a letter from H. M. Gerrans to 
George T. Beck, March 10, 1927. Beck Collection. 

107. Letter from William Hinckle Smith to George T. Beck, March 10, 
1911. Beck Collection. 

108. Printed sheet of organization of the Ptolmey Corporation, no date. 
Beck Collection. 

109. Letter from J. M. Dullahan and Clayton W. Williams to George T. 
Beck May 22, 1926. These men evidently represented the Texon Oil and 
Land Company. On December 11, 1922, Dullahan had written to Beck 
saying ''I suppose you have made many improvements in your machine for 
locating oil," followed by a query about his plans. 


famous Spindletop Oil Field, working for Joe Leiter, Chicago mil- 
lionaire. 110 Beck's searches for oil through the first two decades of 
the twentieth century' generally ended in failure. In the 1920's 
Beck stayed home, but continued his interest in local oil develop- 

In 1927 the Union Oil Company leased Beck's claim in the 
Oregon Basin and struck oil. Remembering their past struggles, 
H. M. Gerrans had this to say about the strike. 

When I look back and think of the little Cody clientele putting down 
the first well that was a failure, it would seem funny if they should 
strike a big development in the Basin. I know you always talked very 
strongly in regard to that property, and certainly I would be delighted 
to think of your making a fortune in your declining years, after the 
many years you have been in there and in back of so many things. 111 

The oil well was not so easily obtained. Beck had to sue to get his 
share of the profits. His large number of leases, which in turn 
were leased to various companies and individuals, made a long and 
involved court case inevitable. Beck did emerge triumphant after 
considerable difficulty and had a productive well. 11 - Quite en- 
thusiastic, Beck now decided to build a refinery. The Beck Refin- 
ing Company was a small affair which provided asphalt for roads 
near Cody. His well at first produced 650 barrels a day, providing 
almost $6,000 a year. 113 The small refinery, managed by George 
Beck, Jr., faced tough competition and finally was purchased by 
the Husky Refining Company. 114 

110. Joe Leiter was the Chicago millionaire famous for his attempt to 
corner the U. S. wheat market in 1898. He must have spent a fortune in 
this Texas search for oil. Small companies were quickly organized, lands 
leased, and wells drilled, usually without success. One small company 
organized there was the Beck Petroleum Company. Diary, February 22, 
1917. Beck Collection. 

111. Letter from H. M. Gerrans to George T. Beck, March 10, 1927. 
Beck Collection. 

112. William Hinckle Smith must have owned part of the well for he 
thanked Beck for royalty checks and congratulated him on his "thousand 
barrel well." Letter from Smith to Beck, July 4, 1930. The complicated 
court began with affidavits and a series of letters on June 1, 1928. Payments 
of $5000 due on Beck's lease indicate the Akron-Wyoming Oil Company 
was involved. The court cases are found in the letters from Thomas Hunter, 
Cheyenne attorney, to Beck, January 10 through November 4, 1929. Hunt- 
er in 1930 wrote that Judge Kennedy gave a compromise decision, assigning 
alternate sections to those concerned. Hunter to Beck, September 10, 1930. 
Beck Collection. 

113. Letters from George T. Beck to Alfred W. Johnson, September 17, 
1939, and the Board of Equalization, State of Wyoming, to George T. Beck, 
June 17, 1939. Beck Collection. 

114. Beck once complained that his sources of crude oil were being cut 
off almost forcing him to close his refinery. Letter from George T. Beck to 
William H. Smith, 1938. Also, a letter from the Husky Refining Company 
to George T. Beck, February 17, 1941, and interviews. Beck Collection. 


Timber, sulfur, and other natural resources received Beck's at- 
tention. In 1904 Beck applied for a permit to cut timber in the 
Yellowstone Timber Reserve; the permit was issued for 3,000,000 
feet. 11 "' After cutting the timber and shipping it by river, a large 
portion was sold to the railroad for ties. Beck's sulfur leases near 
Cody were also quite valuable. After he sent specimens for assay 
to various places, interested developers examined his lands. Beck 
promoted his sulfur too much at first, and one honest examiner, 
after agreeing that much could be made by selling stock to inves- 
tors, suggested a small plant instead of "graft". 116 The Sulphur 
Mining and Milling Company, formed by several Cody business- 
men in 1912, began development. As usual there was litigation 
before the land commissioner, mainly instigated by Omaha parties. 
Finally, after clearing his lease, Beck turned over his sulfur priv- 
ileges to the Northwest Sulphur Company and received in return 
one dollar per ton as a royalty. 117 

Beck had planned many other enterprises including a cement 
plant in Cody and an ice business; his electric company office be- 
came the local agency for the Hoover Suction Sweeper Company. 
Even at the age of eighty-seven he was promoting a magnesium 
plant. 118 

At the same time as the flurry of entrepreneurial activity was 
taking place, Beck was maintaining an important political role in 
his region. Politics never had been separated from his promotional 
activities. In the organization of Big Horn County in 1896 he 
actively worked to make Cody the county seat. 119 He failed to do 

115. Series of letters, January 14. 1904 to January 15, 1906. The permit 
cost Beck $2,500. Some Eastern lumber dealers backed out of the deal 
because it was too small. While in Texas Beck became involved in a timber 
project in Dominica, but nothing came of it. Beck Collection. 

1 16. Enrique Touceda of Albany, New York, to George T. Beck, Novem- 
mer 13, 1903. Beck Collection. 

117. Diary, August 25, 1916. The lawsuits are seen in letters from L. 
Simpson to George T. Beck, January 14 to December 30, 1914. The Sul- 
phur Mining and Milling Company begun in Cody is mentioned in a letter 
from W. J. Deegan to George T. Beck, January 15, 1912. Beck Collection. 

1 18. Beck's magnesium interests are found in a series of letters from W. 
H. Smith, the Dow Chemical Company, the Devonial Oil and Gas Com- 
pany, and others. August 30, 1941 to December 3, 1942. Also, T. A. Lar- 
son, Wyoming's War Years, 1941-1945 (Laramie: The University of Wyo- 
ming, 1954), p. 264. The cement plant is discussed in a series of letters 
from the Allis-Chalmers Company, Denver Office, to George T. Beck, Feb- 
ruary 13 to March 28, 1905. The ice business is revealed in an unsigned 
letter of November 30, 1907. The Hoover Company wrote to the Shoshone 
Electric Light Company on May 23, 1921 and mentioned their relationship. 
Beck Collection. 

119. Autobiography, p. 111. 


this, but in 1909, when Park County was carved from Big Horn 
County, Cody did become the county seat. 

In 1902 George T. Beck was the Democratic candidate for gov- 
ernor of Wyoming. He opened his campaign in Meeteetse and 
indicated his concern for the building of the state. 1 -" However, it 
was a "Republican year" and his rival won. In one respect Beck 
won for he unofficially received the title of "governor ,, and for the 
rest of his life was known as "Governor Beck." 1 - 1 In 1906 Beck 
was nominated for the state House of Representatives, but lost; in 
1912, a ''Democratic year", he was elected to the state Senate and 
was a darkhorse candidate for the U. S. Senate. 122 

More important than office-holding was the local political power 
Beck was able to exercise. His political influence may have 
stemmed from the fact that he was a strong party member. He 
served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 
1904, 1908, 1912, 1928, 1932, and 1936. His name was familiar 
to important Democratic politicians and he wrote to them whenever 
he was concerned about an issue. For example, his favorite theme, 
to make bonds legal tender, was submitted during the World War I 
era to President Wilson as well as to all governors, senators, and 
representatives; during the depression era of the 1930's again it 
went to all political figures including Franklin D. Roosevelt. 123 
Beck referred to himself in these letters as a "small businessman" 
and his views are probably typical of that group. The only reform 
movement in which he became active was the anti-prohibition 
crusade. 124 

Party politicians have political influence and Beck exercised his 
locally. He asked to have his wife appointed notary public and it 
was done. He asked to have a relative appointed forester in Yel- 

120. There is a copy of the campaign speech in rough form in the Beck 
Collection. He advocated direct election of senators, but his main emphasis 
was the state's economic growth. DeForest Richards received 14,483 votes 
to Beck's 10,017, and won the election to the governorship. 

121. Beck related the story of his title in the Sheridan Post Enterprise, 
September 3, 1925. 

122. Beck was informed of his nomination to the state House by John C. 
Hamm in a letter on October 15, 1906. Material on his election in 1912 is 
from letters by Frank L. Houx; he told Beck in one letter not to raise the 
Mormon question and in another that Beck was a dark horse for the U S. 
Senate. Beck described the 1912 session as "talk, talk, talk" in his diary. 
January 15, 1913. Beck Collection. 

123. Interesting replies were received to his letters including one from 
Franklin D. Roosevelt, February 6, 1940. In a reply to Roosevelt's letter, 
February 11, 1940, Beck described himself to Roosevelt as a "small business- 
man." Beck Collection. 

124. Letters from the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment to 
George T. Beck, September 24, 1931 through April 10, 1933. Beck became 
a State Director and was asked to be on the National Board of Directors. 
Beck Collection. 


lowstone Park Forest Reserve and it was done. He helped a friend, 
H. R. Weston, become a bank examiner. 125 Numerous letters show 
he was beseiged with solicitations for offices; he obliged many of 

Beck's services to his community were widely recognized, though 
it seems he was most remembered for a card game. A church was 
built with the winnings: 

On one occasion, Tom Pursell, Colonel Cody and I were playing 
poker in Tom Pursell's saloon; two cattlemen were also playing. It 
so happened that a jack pot was opened and everybody stayed in until 
the pot finally reached $500.00. We stopped before the call was made, 
and concluded as a good joke, we would make the man who won it, 
contribute to the building of a church, as we had none in Cody. We 
all agreed to this. It was my good luck to win when the pot reached 
$550.00. I named the Episcopal Church to receive the donation. 126 

Beck also had helped build the Cody school system in 1898 and 
probably donated most of the land in Cody's park. 127 He was 
active in many lodges and clubs. 

Beck's great house practically became a tourist attraction. He 
was respected as the town's first citizen and it was he who enter- 
tained the town's distinguished guests. He was the social leader of 
the town and his home was the mecca for the socialites of the city. 
When he died in 1943, the businesses closed for his funeral and the 
Cody Enterprise ran a large front page article about him. The 
editor said in summarizing Beck's career that "there has been 
hardly an undertaking in Cody during its entire life as a town which 
has not felt and received the support, assistance and counsel of 
George Beck." It was Beck, he added, "who first breathed the 
breath of life into Cody." 128 The end of a long, busy career came 
when he was eighty-seven and still actively promoting his and the 
town's enterprises. 

George T. Beck lived comfortably in Cody and often traveled, 

125. Letters from George T. Beck to W. G. McAdoo, Secretary of the 
Treasury, August 27, 1913, and McAdoo to Beck, July 8, 1913; from Wil- 
liam A. Richards to George T. Beck, January 28, 1898; and from Frank 
Mondell to George T. Beck, August 15, 1898. When he apointed Karl Sor- 
enson as Forester, Mondell, a Republican, said "at least Mr. Sorenson will 
not do the Republican party any harm," but wondered why "Friend Beck" 
could not find any qualified Republicans fit for the office. Beck Collection. 

126. Personal Reminiscences. 

127. The Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, January 31, 1906 tells 
about the beginning of the school system. The park donation is mentioned 
in a letter from M. Leonard Simpson to George T. Beck, October 13, 1936. 
Beck Collection. 

128. Cody Enterprise, December 8, 1943. Beck died of a heart attack 
on December 1, 1943. 


but he was never a rich man and did not leave a fortune. He had 
invested in many projects, but seldom contributed large amounts. 
The final probation of his will showed an evaluation of less than 
$20,000.' - : ' The West, if the career of one Western entrepreneur 
is an indication, was built on mortgages and eastern capital. 

The best lands in the West had been taken before Beck arrived. 
The Big Horn Basin was a dry and barren land with rivers gushing 
through deep canyons. However, Beck had learned that the water 
could be controlled for power and farming. When the Carey Act 
was passed, it was natural that he should use the new opportunity 
for advancement. He also had experience with founding towns 
and knew the chances for investment which would arise. In using 
the terms of the Carey Act to develop a region for profit. Beck was 
following a long line of traditional frontier development. Behind 
him was over a century of similar frontier exploitation and spec- 

Land and the electric plant provided the base for Beck's enter- 
prises. Having enough income to provide a steady wage on which 
to live, he became the town's foremost citizen. Behind the facade 
of a stable and secure living was a scurry of entrepreneurial activity; 
it seemed to be a game with Beck. Investing in many enterprises 
and promoting numerous projects, he was largely responsible for 
the investment by capitalists outside his community. With only a 
small personal investment in an enterprise, Beck promoted it 
strongly to get men with more capital involved. The industries of 
his town and region were built largely with eastern capital. It may 
be suggested as typical of Western entrepreneurs that, while invest- 
ing in many enterprises, they were heavily in debt. If the entre- 
preneur of the frontier is defined as one who made profits from his 
organizational work, although he may have risked little or no 
capital of his own, Beck fits the catagory perfectly. 

129. There were a few small debts to be paid, but the estimate was also 
lower than the actual value. District Court Records, No. 1335, p. 154, Park 
County Court House, Cody, Wyoming. 


HOW TEACHERS WASTE TIME. By: 1. Ignorance in organ- 
izing classes. 2. Giving unnecessary directions. 3. Coming to 
school without a definite plan of work. 4. Speaking when pupils 
are not giving attention. 5. Giving orders and immediately chang- 
ing them. 6. Speaking too loud and too often. 7. "Getting ready" 
to do something. 8. Allowing pointless criticisms, questions and 
discussions. 9. Asking pointless, wandering questions and going 
off on "tangents" in recitations. 10. Explaing what pupils already 
know. 1 1 . Explaining what pupils should study out for themselves. 
12. Repeating questions. 13. "Picking at" pupils. 14. Repeating 
answers after pupils. 15. Giving muddy explanations to conceal 
ignorance. 16. Using the voice where the eyes would be effective. 

17. Asking questions that can be answered by "yes" or "no." 

18. Failing to systematize knowledge. Wyoming School Journal, 
Laramie, Wyoming, May, 1891. 

The strawberries for the Good Templar's festival, Saturday 
night, are now on the road from California, and will be here on 
time. Laramie Daily Sentinel, May 6, 1875. 

TUITION [University of Wyoming] is free to all students from 
Wyoming; those of other States will pay an annual fee of $5. All 
students pay an annual fee of $ 1 .50 for use and support of Library, 
and $1 for incidental expenses. Board, room, fuel and light can 
be had in private families for from $4 to $6 per week. It is ex- 
pected that before long a Boarding Department will be added, 
where board may be had at cost. Wyoming School Journal, Lara- 
mie, Wyoming, May, 1891 

Point of Kocks- South Pass City 
freight Koad Zrek 

Trek No. 18 of the Historical Trails Treks 

Sponsored by 


Sweetwater County Chapter and Fremont County Chapter 
of Wyoming State Historical Society 

Under the direction of 
Maurine Carley and Dick Eklund 

Compiled by 
Maurine Carley, Trek Historian 

June 30— July 2, 1967 
Caravan: 40 cars, 95 participants 


Captain: Tom Leach, Wyoming Highway Patrol 

Wagon Boss: Grant Willson 

Announcer: Bill Dubois 

Guides: Dick Eklund, Ed Varley, George Stephens, Oscar Deal 

and Jules Farlow 
Historian: Maurine Carley 
Topographer: H. M. "Doc" Townsend, U.S. Geological Survey, 

Photographers: Adrian Reynolds, Helen Gaensslen and Rae Dell 

Press: Green River Star, Green River; Wyoming State Journal, 

Registrars: Jane Houston, Rosalind Beaky 
Tickets : Fran Boan 

NOTE: Mileage starts at Point of Rocks. 

Gold was first discovered in the Sweetwater district in 1 842, but 
active mining was not done until the 1860's. Many groups of 
miners came to dig for the treasure, but the Indians killed them or 
drove them away. However, by 1869 there were 2,000 gold seek- 


ers in the vicinity of South Pass City, Atlantic City and Hamilton 
(Miner's Delight). 

This remote gold country was made more accessible with the 
completion of the Union Pacific Railroad. Traffic on the Point of 
Rocks — South Pass City Freight Road was brisk in 1870 when a 
Mr. Larimer ran daily coaches for passengers over the road for a 
$10 fare. The distance was about 70 miles by way of Black Rocks 
and Sweetwater Station. 

Registration began at 8:00 P.M. at El Rancho Motel in Rock 
Springs where the Sweetwater County Historical Society enter- 
tained the trekkers at a get-together party. Coffee, punch and 
doughnuts were served. 

Guides: Dick Eklund, George Stephens, Ed Varley and Adrian 

8:00 A.M. The group met at the Conoco Service Station in Point 
of Rocks for introductions, registration and a group picture. 

By Rae Dell Varley 

Point of Rocks sits in the valley 6,500 feet above sea level. To 
the southeast are 365-foot perpendicular sandstone walls which are 
1,100 feet above the roadbed of the Union Pacific Railroad. A 
wagon road once followed along the base of these walls which 
served as a register of the desert, being well signed. At the foot of 
the walls one can still see flowing springs — three large ones and 
four smaller ones. Four miles up the freight road there is a very 
large spring. Surrounding hills contain coal veins, fossil leaves of 
poplar, ash, elm, maple and even specimens of large fan-palms. A 
wide seam of fossilized oyster shells, about the size of our edible 
ones, is found at the top of the hill to the north. This formation 
can be seen northwest as far as Boar's Tusk. Many cabins in the 
Sands area were built from the stone in this formation, because 
there was nothing else available for miles around. Indian signs line 
this valley and lead one to believe it probably served as a seasonal 
camp for them. There was no recorded history of this area until 
the Overland Stage Station was established in 1862. 

The Rock Point Stage Station has, at different times, served as a 
stage stop, freight station, store, school, ranch headquarters and 
home. It was burned out at least once, and peepholes in the stable 
testify to Indian troubles. Built of native sandstone, as were all 
stations where wood was scarce, it served as a stage station until 
the arrival of the railroad in 1868. Mud mortar chinked the walls. 
Most of the original beams were burned in raids and have been 
replaced by telegraph poles. The walls have been plastered inside 


and some additions were made by later occupants. This was one 
of the few places to get fresh drinking water, as water along this 
stretch is strong with alkali. It also has a high iron content, with 
medicinal qualities. 

A few years ago this station was the best preserved one on the 
old Overland Trail in Sweetwater County. It became the property 
of the state in 1947 but has been sadly neglected. 

In 1877 when the stages had stopped running, Lawrence Tag- 
gert, an early Union Pacific section foreman, moved his family into 
the building. His daughter, Mrs. Charles Rador, recalls living 
there as a girl. Her mother turned one of the rooms of the station 
into a school and served as the teacher. A school district had been 
organized here in October, 1875, with eighteen students and a 
budget of $328. The first school was in a dugout. 

An old Pony Express rider and stage coach guard, James M. 
Thompson, related the following story of the station to the late 
F. B. Crumley, Rock Springs Miner publisher, when Thompson 
was eighty-seven years old in 1932. Thompson was a guard as- 
signed to the station at the time of the excitement. "Jim Slade, 
ex-stage line superintendent, turned bandit, staged a robbery at 
Rock Point station. Seven passengers on the coach were killed in 
the hold up." Their bodies lie buried in the little cemetery up the 
hill today. Headstones and wooden markers showing dates of 
1863 were still in evidence in the 1930's. 

William Halter, George Flick and Charles Rador used the build- 
ing as a freight station for the South Pass mines. In 1897 Mrs. 
Rador and her husband moved into the building when he head- 
quartered his sheep-ranching outfit here. The family remained 
until 1910, when they built a new home across the creek in down- 
town Point of Rocks. 

The last person to reside in the stage building was Jim McKee, a 
one-time member of Butch Cassidy's gang. Rumor says that Jim 
spent his last years hunting for loot stolen from a train at Tipton 
and supposedly buried here during a drunken brawl. Jim died in 
1946, a ward of the county. 

As the Rock Point Stage station became more dilapidated the 
new town across Bitter Creek began to grow. It looked as if this 
town would be the real thing and land speculators started to hope 
again, even after Benton and the other end-of-the-line towns had 
quickly disappeared. Point of Rocks had the feeling of perma- 
nence. It was the point of arrival for the iron horse and the point 
of departure for the harnessed variety. Also, Jack Morrow, an 
ambitious native, had been mining coal at Black Buttes thirteen 
miles away even before the railroad arrived. 

The proverbial Main Street was lined with frame houses, tents 
and shanties. There was a post office, and stores, hotels and bars 
to serve the budding town. The freight depot was the center of 
activity with two stage lines running daily to South Pass City. One 


line was owned by Larimer and Ganno, the other by Alexander 
Benham, who later ran the government mail contract from Bryan 
to the Pass lor $65,000 per annum. These Concord stages, drawn 
by six horses, took ten hours for the trip, and a one-way ticket cost 
$ 1 a person. 

The population of Wyoming in 1867 was less than one thousand, 
mostly brave individuals in uniforms, stationed at Fort Laramie 
and Fort Bridger. When the Union Pacific was completed through 
Wyoming in 1 869 it left a population of eleven thousand along its 
tracks. Three hundred and sixteen of these people lived in Point 
of Rocks. The town grew and prospered while the gold rush 
thrived at South Pass, but declined when Bryan became the train 
division point. A few years later the railroad moved its tracks 
north of Bryan and the stage traffic was returned to Point of Rocks. 
However, things were never the same. 

The present townsite was platted in 1908 and good-sized stores 
were still operated by Stockgrowers, Halter and Flick until 1916. 
At that time Stockgrowers bought out the competition then sold 
out to Mike Zanoni in 1924. Following is a short list of some of 
the items included in the sale: 1 cracker rack, 1 step ladder (old), 
1 bread case, 1 twine holder, 1 bag rack, 1 tabbacco cutter, 2 meat 
hooks, 1 candy scale, eave spouting, blacksmith anvil, forge and 
vice, 1 light plant (out of order), 1 tin bucket. 

In 1926 Mr. Zanoni donated land for a new school building 
which served the students until 1944. Since that time the children 
have been bussed to Superior. 

After the transcontinental highway was built through the town in 
1928 Mr. Zanoni built a large tourist center complete with two 
service stations, a store, cafe, bar and cabins. In 1936 he was still 
serving a large rail community which maintained the track, ran the 
depot and telegraph office, and manned the coal chute and water 
tank for the steam engines. He also supplied many of the sheep 
outfits and smaller section towns nearby. 

Since the middle 1940's the town has dwindled away because of 
the great changes in railroad engines and maintenance. There are 
thirty residents in 1967, thus making Point of Rocks another ghost 
town from Wyoming's past. 

8:30 A.M. After listening to the history of Point of Rocks the 
caravan went east on Highway 30 for two miles then turned left on 
the old Point of Rocks — South Pass City Freight Road. In ad- 
vance of the trek the Sweetwater County Commissioners thought- 
fully bladed the entire freight road through their count)'. This 
courtesy was appreciated by the many drivers. 

8:45 A.M. At 8 M. we passed the Meadows, which is a spot 
somewhat greener than the country just covered. At 9 M. we took 
the county road to the left, leaving the old Freight Road which 


wound up Deadman's Wash around bluffs impossible for the cars 
of the trek to travel. At 15 M. we crossed Deadman's Wash and 
the Continental Divide, which is hardly noticeable at that point. 
9:30 A.M. We stopped at Rador Springs on Black Rock Creek 
(20 M.) where the foundation of the old station remains. The 
best ruts on the Road can be seen here. An old grave is close by. 
9:55 A.M. As we departed, Black Rock, a square-topped lava 
rock extending several hundred feet into the sky, was pointed out 
to our right. At 20.3 M. we could see Freighter's Gap, a notch in 
the sky line directly ahead. North Table Rock and South Table 
Rock loomed to the west. We turned abruptly left to make a long 
detour around the Sand Dunes and Carson Lakes and stopped at 
29 M. for a talk at 10:15 A.M. 

By Grant Willson 

The old freight road that we followed so easily today must have 
been hell on man and beast. When wet — a slippery gumbo, strain- 
ing every step. When dry — alkali dust and sweat under a burning 
sun. But it was not always so. In the roseate memories of the 
"old timers" the grass was "belly deep." Now it is grazed thin. 

However, this empty land, erroded, bleached, and sand blasted, 
is truly a geologic miracle. It has been an intermountain structural 
basin for some sixty million years. This vast Wyoming Basin, 
covering nearly forty thousand square miles, is bordered for the 
most part by abrupt mountain slopes. But it miraculously provides 
the only easy migratory route piercing the barrier of the great 
Rocky Mountain chain. Thus, this area has silently witnessed 
innumerable waves of migration of man, animal, and even plant 
life. As early as 1 850, Captain Stansbury of the Topographical 
Corps., spoke of ". . . that remarkable depression between the Park 
Mountains and the South Pass". 

Today we will on several ocassions straddle the Continental Di- 
vide, yet no one will be precisely aware of this. If you will examine 
your highway map at approximately where Pacific Springs is 
shown, the dotted Continental Divide line suddenly separates and 
branches out to enclose an area of forty-two hundred square miles. 
The dotted lines come together again, south of Rawlins, in the 
vicinity of Bridger Pass, thus sharply outlining the Great Divide 
Basin which lies within the much larger Wyoming Basin. Within 
this smaller basin no drainage reaches the sea. Instead, all mois- 
ture flows out onto alkali flats and evaporates, thus depositing 
economically valuable chemical salts in fine sedimentary layers. 
The recent trona development, which is of great economic impor- 
tance to Wyoming, is successfully mining a soda ash deposit aver- 
aging ten feet in thickness from a level fifteen hundred feet below 
the surface. It is estimated that this deposit, the world's first dis- 


covery of a solid body of trona, covers an area of a thousand 
square miles. The name, Great Divide Basin, is mainly a hydro- 
graphic term and we desert rats know it as the Red Desert because 
the soft tertiary sediments decompose to a light clay soil generally 
of a red color. 

Immediately in front of us is another geologic feature that adds 
to the bizarre character of this unusual land. This narrow tongue 
of silica sand runs east and west for almost thirty-five miles and 
the freight road wisely chose to cross the narrowest portion of this 
barrier. These fine, windblown sands owe their existance to the 
unique channeling of the prevailing winds, the general lack of pre- 
cipitation within this basin, and to a plentiful supply of finely- 
ground glacial dust left behind after the glaciers so dramatically 
carved the Wind River Mountains. In the rare years when rainfall 
is abundant, as it was this year, grass may grow and actually stabil- 
ize or reduce the size of the dunes. But drouth years set the dunes 
restlessly adrift again. The high silica content of these sands may 
sometime be of economic importance. 

The dunes are not as dry as they seem, for by reflecting a high 
percentage of summer heat, moisture can be found relatively close 
to the surface. This area supports thousands of antelope and many 
elk. Eden Vally man, some 8,000 years ago, established a camp- 
site on the northwest edge of the Dunes near a spring. The pro- 
jectile points that are uncovered by these shifting sands clearly 
show a high degree of engineering skill coupled with a fine artistic 
ability, and mutely demonstrate that the dunes could well sustain 
human life. 

On the skyline immediately to the west may be seen the erod- 
ed and rounded remnants of localized mountain-making activity 
known as the Rock Springs Uplift. These mountains in their prime 
rose almost ten thousand feet above their present crumbled bases. 
Just to the northwest is another distinct area dominated by flat- 
topped buttes or mesas, which are named the Leucite Hills. These 
eroded remains of extensive horizontal lava flows have left a 
highly resistant cap which so effectively protects the soft underlying 
sedimentary beds. Steamboat Mountain, just ahead, is a good 
example of this formation. The lava flow was composed of a 
unique combination of alumina and potash which was geologically 
named Leucite. Here, again, is a potential economic treasure con- 
sisting of a surface layer estimated at two billion tons, containing a 
high percentage of that most necessary ingredient of fertilizer — 
potash. To the west of Steamboat Mountain, and rising vertically 
several hundred feet above its talus slope is Boar's Tusk. Aptly 
named, it is a dramatic example of a solidified volcanic neck, 
barred by erosion on all sides, starkly protruding from the Dune 

If we could look far back through the kaleidoscope of geologic 
history, where a million years is but a day, we would see this Great 


Wyoming Basin dominated by the great fresh water lake Gosiute. 
With temperatures ranging from tropical to temperate, and with 
abundant plant life ranging from palm, bamboo, horsetails and 
rushes, to the modern hardwoods, we would see the source from 
which the tremendous Rock Springs coal beds were formed. Dur- 
ing the warm, moist Eocene Period, myriads of fish and insects 
were entombed in the fine-grained Green River Shales. The car- 
bonized remains are as perfectly preserved as though they were 
carefully pressed between the pages of a stone book. Probably 
through a process of temperature inversion, these fish were sudden- 
ly poisoned and sank into the mineral laden muck at the bottom of 
the lake, as the remains show no evidence of physical decay. 

But time presses, and we must get on with the trek. 

10:40 A.M. We continued around the dunes at the foot of Steam- 
boat Mountain. The guides stood by to see that no cars were stuck 
in the sand. Henry Chadey from Rock Springs pointed out the 
spot where the 42nd degree parallel, north latitude, crosses the 
Continental Divide. It was at this place that the Louisiana Terri- 
tory, Northwest (Oregon ) Territory and Mexican Cession had a 
common boundary on Steamboat Mountain. 

At 36 M. we returned to the Freight Road and turned left 
toward Freighters Gap, a small notch through sandstone bluffs, 
which we had seen about an hour earlier. 

11:10 A.M. We departed from Freighter's Gap. Two miles north 
(39 M.) we left the Road and recrossed the Continental Divide. 
The Freight Road ran through the Great Divide Basin which ex- 
tends approximately 100 miles from east to west and 70 miles from 
north to south. It contains several small lakes and many small 
streams. None have drainage outside the basin as it is bounded on 
all sides by the Continental Divide. This is part of the Red Desert. 

12:00 noon After traveling through "green badlands," composed 
of strange clumps of tall, sharp, green grass which must have cov- 
ered an old lake bed, we came to Rock Cabin Draw on Jack Mor- 
row Creek (52 M.). 

By George Stephens 

Adventurous men, some good, some bad, had many stories wov- 
en around them in the early days. Jack Morrow was one of the 
bad ones. He started his career on the plains as a common thief 
and later went into the upper brackets of swindling. There is no 
record of his shady activities before he appeared on the Wyoming 
plains in the late fifties although he was well known in Nebraska 
and Denver long before the coming of the railroad. 


He began as a teamster hauling freight from Omaha to Denver 
and Salt Lake. During this time he accumulated a stake by tapping 
his freight and stealing part of each load. He was also a braggart 
and boaster. He would find out who had money, then manage to 
waylay or rob them so he became prosperous and rich and wore a 
huge diamond pin. 

Alex Constant became his partner and the two operated a trad- 
ing post about 1860. Later Jack robbed his partner, fled and 
established his famous Junction ranch near here. He built a story- 
and-a-half house sixty feet long, and dug deep ditches to make 
the emigrants pass his ranch so he could steal their livestock. The 
ditches can still be seen. It was risky to claim the lost livestock, 
for Morrow's reputation was well known. He hired both Indians 
and white men to steal the stock. A high point was used for a 
lookout. Today the figure of a Sioux Indian scout stands on the 
point where a view of the valley extends for miles. 

Each year Jack made a trip to Omaha with the freight wagons 
piled high. He recognized the possibility of mining lignite coal so 
operated a mine near Black Buttes before the railroad came. He 
secured a contract to furnish the Union Pacific with ties and 
25,000 cords of wood to be cut between Black Buttes and Green 
River. He boasted of short-counting and hollow-centers in the 
piles of timber. 

Once in a poker game he won $60,000 from a group of men sent 
from Washington to investigate irregularities in government con- 
tracts. Omaha at the time tolerated open gambling. 

His first wife, a squaw, died and he married a white woman who 
proved to be the daughter of a man he had once robbed. He be- 
came a county commissioner in Lincoln County, Nebraska Terri- 
tory, but soon his gambling and drinking consumed his wealth and 
he died in poverty in 1885. 

In spite of his reputation his name has been perpetuated in 
Sweetwater County. Jack Morrow Creek, Jack Morrow Canyon 
and Jack Morrow Hills are all named for this scalawag. 

12:10 P.M. The caravan moved north to strike the Middle Hay 
and Bar X Ranch Road, then traveled left to Jack Morrow Hills 
(62 M.). This area has produced some of the finest limb casts 
and petrified palm wood to be found anywhere in the Eden Valley. 

When we reached the top of a hogback we saw the Oregon 
Buttes, a landmark on the Oregon Trail, to our right in the dis- 
tance. During the 1929 depression some of the gravel deposits on 
the benches of the Buttes were found to contain placer gold. Water 
was hauled by truck from Dickie Springs to operate the placers, but 
this operation was found to be too expensive after the government 
set the gold price. 

To the northeast the sight of the beautiful snow-capped Wind 
River Range compensated for the dreary immediate landscape. 


12:35 P.M. We turned left on Highway 28 (70 M.) and traveled 
15 miles. At 85 M. we stopped at two markers which give a pic- 
torial record of the historic trails and locations in this area. We 
again crossed the Continental Divide at 7,750 feet elevation and 
passed the Lander Cutoff sign. 

1 :25 P.M. Everyone was glad to see the Rest Stop (90 M. ) on the 
Sweetwater River where lunches were soon spread and enjoyed. 

2:10 P.M. We were on our way again. 

2:30 P.M. Our new guides were waiting for us at the turn-off for 
South Pass City. On a good graded road we passed the famous 
Carissa Mine on the left and dropped down a short, steep grade 
into South Pass City (102 M.). The Old South Pass Historical 
Preserve Commission presented each member of the trek with a 
free admission ticket to South Pass City. 


By Norman Dickinson 

South Pass City was born in 1867 following the discovery of 
gold at the Carissa Mine site. Soon there were a thousand residents 
in the city and some historians claim that the population was near 
four thousand at one time. In 1867 gold was also discovered at 
Spring Gulch and two years later the famous Burr mine was 
located. Others in the region were the Good Hope, Iron Duke, 
Bullion, Hidden Hand and the Irish Jew. 

The town grew rapidly and soon stores, hotels and saloons lined 
Main Street for half a mile. On December 27, 1867, the Dakota 
Legislature declared South Pass City to be the county seat of Carter 
County. At that time Carter County was about a third of the area 
of present Wyoming. From 1869 to 1874 South Pass City was the 
county seat of Sweetwater County, from which Fremont County 
was formed. 

William Tweed, one of the early freighters, was the first to bring 
his family to live in South Pass City. In 1869 Esther Hobart 
Morris, Wyoming's most prominent pioneer woman, came with her 
husband and three sons. The next year she was appointed Justice 
of the Peace for South Pass City. 

By the mid 1870's the gold mines were playing out and people 
left the district. Many buildings were torn down or moved away. 
Those left to the winds and snow became dilapidated. South Pass 
City has been a ghost town for many years. 

Of interest to the tourists today is a thick, iron door which leads 
to a wine cellar and a large dugout. The women and children were 
hidden there during Indian raids while the men were out fighting. 

South Pass City should not be confused with South Pass which is 


about fifteen miles away. This pass lacks the characteristics of 
most mountain passes as it is flat and wide. 

A bill passed by the 1967 Wyoming Legislature created the Old 
South Pass Historical Preserve Commission. It charged the Com- 
mission with developing plans for restoration and providing facul- 
ties for visitors. 

3:15 P.M. The trekkers returned to their cars after exploring the 
interesting old town. A donation to help with the restoration of the 
City was given to Mrs. Edness Kimball Wilkins, a member of the 

GUIDES: Oscar Deal and Jules Farlow. 

3:15 P.M. We followed the guides back past the Carissa Mine on 
the right hand road. This is rolling country and the route is over a 
series of hills. The road passed many old prospect holes and min- 
ing dumps, remants of the exciting gold rush days. For a time we 
paralleled the automated railroad which runs from the Atlantic 
Iron Mine to Winton Junction. At 106 M. we dropped down into 
Atlantic City on Rock Creek and Willow Creek. 


By Mrs. Lyle Maerer and Jim Carpenter 

Since I am practically a newcomer to Atlantic City I would like 
to thank the old-timers who have given me information for this 
paper. Mrs. Gustafason and Mrs. McFie were very helpful. Jim 
Carpenter, one of the oldest residents in Atlantic City, was my 
chief source. (Mr. Carpenter died on February 12, 1968, at the 
age of 81. Editor) 

The Carpenter family, composed of Father Carpenter, his wife 
and eight children, arrived here October 13, 1890, in a snow storm. 
They had come from Fort Robinson, Nebraska, where Mr. Car- 
penter had just been mustered out of the army. Their destination 
was Oregon but they spent the winter here and decided to stay. 
Jim was only three when he arrived with his family. This October 
he will have lived in Atlantic City 77 years and is the only remain- 
ing member of his family. 

For many years his mother and sister operated the Carpenter 
Hotel, famous for genuine western hospitality and wonderful meals. 
The original one-story building was built in 1904 and the large 
addition was added in 1935. After Mrs. Carpenter's death Miss 
Ellen continued the business until she became ill in 1958. The 
hotel is one of the well-known landmarks and is now a private 

Before Atlantic City was a town it was called Quaker Aspen Hut 
Crossing, so named by the trappers because of a small hut built 
from aspen trees. By 1867 the gold rush was on and several build- 
ings were erected. One of the first was the old cabin which stands 


behind this store. It was used for the first school house and meet- 
ing place for the miners. Another of the original buildings is the 
one across from the store. It housed a barber shop and at one time 
a candy store. This is the centennial year for Atlantic City and the 
South Pass area. 

McAuley's store, now Hyde's Hall, is the stone building, which at 
one time had two stories. The main floor housed a general mer- 
chandise business and the second floor was a dance hall, the largest 
in the state at one time. The first Opera House in the state was 
located here in Atlantic City. Also the first brewery was built at 
the mouth of Beer Garden Gulch one mile up the road from town. 

A new cabin now stands where the old Huff Hotel once stood, 
and right behind it was the site chosen for the school. The second 
school building was built on the left side of the church and in later 
years was moved to its present location on Main Street. 

The church that overlooks the town is Saint Andrew's Episcopal 
Church. Money for it was collected by Jim Carpenter in 1911 and 
1912. The logs were cut, the contract let and the church was com- 
pleted and consecrated in 1913. It had the largest bell in the state. 
Miss Ellen Carpenter donated the pump organ, and for as long as 
she was able, kept the church clean and in good repair. 

This store where we are standing was the Giesler General Store, 
also one of the landmarks of the town. Mr. Giesler, a rancher on 
Willow Creek, went into business with James Baldwin but this 
partnership lasted only a few years; Mr. Giesler bought out the 
entire business and moved to this site. This building was begun in 
1896 but was not occupied by Giesler until the spring of 1898. 
The stable across the street also belonged to Mr. Giesler. 

By 1870 there were hundreds of miners searching for gold in 
every gulch. Nineteen gold stamp mills were operating and the 
last one, Duncan Mine and Mill, did not close down until 1958. 
The gold rush is over, at least for the present. 

Emile Granier, a Frenchman, was the master mind and engineer 
for the sluice ditch which was 15 miles long. It included 28 flumes 
and wound along the south side of Rock Creek where it can still be 
seen from the road. Built in 1882, at a cost of over $250,000, it 
was a complete failure. Mr. Granier was recalled to France where 
he was accused of misappropriation of funds. He was then jailed 
and remained so for the rest of his life. 

Philip Harsh was also connected with the history of Atlantic 
City. He came here in 1 868 and set up a blacksmith business. In 
1872 he became the company blacksmith at Camp Stambaugh 
three miles from here or as the old-timers say, "five gulches and 
turn left." When the Camp was abandoned he moved to Atlantic 
City and lived in the house next to the Giesler General Store. His 
home still stands. Three daughters were born in the house. Today 
Martha Harsh Gustafason and her sister Jean Harsh McFie, both 
in their eighties, are the last living Harsh children. 


Atlantic City has experienced a land rush the last couple years 
and many people have bought lots to build summer cabins on. 
There are eleven of us who live here and at one time the population 
was down to two people — Ellen Carpenter and her brother, Jim. 

4:00 P.M. We continued east and northeast through groves of 
aspen and pines back to the highway then east on half mile to the 
Fort Stambaugh marker (110.5 M.). 

By William Marion 

Camp Stambaugh was established in 1870 to protect the mining 
camps of South Pass, Atlantic City and Hamilton, later known as 
Miner's Delight. It was situated about two miles east of Atlantic 
City and just a short distance from Miner's Delight on Stambaugh 

In the spring of 1870 there were hundreds of placer miners 
working in Smith, Promise, Ward, Big and Little Atlantic, O'Mara, 
Long, Irish, Little Beaver and Strawberry Gulch as well as in many 
other gulches. At that time this was Sioux country. After the 
Indians had killed seven miners in one day the government sent in 
two troops of cavalry. On May 4, 1870, a prospector passed the 
troopers' camp on his way to his claim. When he ran into a large 
band of Indians who chased him, he led them to the soldiers' camp. 
A sentinel on a hill saw the chase and warned the camp. Not 
knowing that soldiers were in the area the surprised Indians re- 
treated north with the soldiers close behind. Lieutenant Charles 
B. Stambaugh and two troopers who were ahead of the column 
were ambushed and killed. The camp was named in his honor. 

Although the Camp was never directly attacked by the Indians, 
it suffered several casualties. One day young Donald Foots, the 
twelve-year-old son of Lieutenant Foots, took the family milk cow 
to the gate and let her out to graze. He was gone over long so his 
mother called and called but got no response. The father went to 
the gate where he found his son dead with an arrow through his 

The troops were kept busy chasing Indian marauders. In 1872, 
on the divide between Twin and Beaver Creeks, Indians killed 
Mike Heenan, took his horse and fled. 

Shortly afterwards, two prospectors, Tom and Bobby Smith, 
went hunting but failed to return. Captain H. G. Nickerson made 
up a party composed of John Grant, Joe Truckay, John Hartley, 
George McKay, Ed Blanchard, William Kinner, Val Brant, Arch 
Cameron and Kris Ranley to hunt for them. Some miles from their 
starting point they were discovered by a scouting party of soldiers 
and civilians out looking for hostile Indians. The scouts signalled 
the Camp and in no time Nickerson and his party were surrounded 


by soldiers. Nickerson and his men tried to inform the scouts of 
their identity but could not make them believe that they were not 
Indians. The Nickerson party came close to being wiped out 
that day. 

One night Tom Autan, who was camped at a spring above Red 
Canyon, was awakened by the barking of his dog. He spotted an 
Indian walking toward his horse which was picketed near where he 
was sleeping under a tarp in the open air. The Indian was kicking 
at the dog which was snapping at his heels. With a well-aimed shot 
old Tom dropped the Indian then went to Camp Stambaugh and 
reported the killing. The commanding officer sent a detail to bring 
in the Indian's body. The surgeon boiled him down and got him- 
self a perfectly good skeleton six feet in length. 

On June 26, 1876, there was a break in the telegraph line west of 
Camp Stambaugh. Robert H. Hall, the telegrapher, left the Camp 
with some Shoshone Indians to find and repair the break. As they 
traveled along they saw smoke signals far to the north. The Sho- 
shones told Hall that Yellow Hair and all his men were killed on the 
Little Big Horn. Since Mr. Hall had his key with him he cut into 
the line and telegraphed the news to Omaha. In this way the east 
heard about the Custer massacre. 

In a few years the gold rush was practically over and the Indians 
were no longer a menace. The government pulled out the troops 
and Fort Stambaugh was abandoned in 1878. 

4:40 P.M. After a delay of thirty minutes several lost cars re- 
joined the trek. We then followed the highway down toward 
Lander Valley which stretched before us with Sheep Mountain in 
the distance. 

5:00 P.M. At 118 M we took the dirt road down Red Canyon. 
This was a beautiful scenic drive through good ranches and green 
meadows. A brilliant red rock wall runs along the right side of the 
canyon. The Fremont County commissioners had this road put in 
excellent condition especially for the trek. 


By Joe Cook 

Very little history has been written about the Red Canyon region 
which is one of the most beautiful and spectacular spots in Wyo- 
ming. The reds and greens are unbelievably brilliant. 

It is thought that W. A. Barrett was the first settler here. At 
least the little creek which heads in the canyon has been known as 
Barrett Creek for as long as anyone can remember. 

Another early settler in Red Canyon was William Tweed, or 
"Boss" Tweed, as he was called. He came with his family to South 
Pass City as one of the first settlers but soon moved to Atlantic City 
where he ran a butcher shop and store. In 1 868 he moved again to 


Red Canyon and was the first to run sheep in what is now Fremont 
County. He also cut wild hay along the creek and started a road 
ranch for the people traveling between the mines and Lander. The 
old log cabin in the trees by the creek is all that is left of "Boss" 
Tweed's Red Canyon Stage Station. 

Tweed had a very bad reputation, so many people would not stay 
at his station if they could help it. My father, Thomas Cook, and 
a man named Gosnell built a cabin on Barrett Creek so they 
wouldn't have to stay with Tweed. They had many visitors. 

5:20 P.M. We continued on down the canyon onto Highway 28 
and hurried into Lander (138 M.) at 5:50. 

7:00 P.M. The Fremont County Chapter arranged a special Gold 
Rush Dinner at the historic Fremont Hotel banquet room. The 
table decorations were appropriate and the food was excellent. 
Mrs. Ora Seipt was toastmistress and Harold Rogers the speaker. 

By Harold Rogers 

Captain Benjamin L. E. Bonneville of the 7th Regiment, U. S. 
Infantry, arrived at the junction of the Little and Big Popo Agie 
Rivers during the spring of 1835 while on an exploring and map 
making expedition. He established a small settlement there known 
as the Bonneville Cabins. After resting his weary horses and men 
in that pleasant location for a few weeks he continued his journey. 

Major Noyes Baldwin, one of the first settlers in Lander, estab- 
lished a Trading Post in the old Bonneville Cabins in 1 866 but in 
1867 was forced to move out by hostile Indians. He then built a 
trading post at South Pass City and also one on Baldwin Creek just 
north of Lander in 1868. He established the Baldwin Store in 
Lander in 1876 and filed a soldier's homestead in the vicinity of 
South 2nd Street in 1879. 

The old Baldwin home is now occupied by his grandson, George 
A. Luden. Large framed pictures of the Major and his wife, and 
also a fine, large 66" by 69" map of the U.S., printed in Washing- 
ton, D.C., in 1865, were discovered still in a state of wonderful 
preservation by Mr. Luden in the attic of the old house. Mr. 
Luden estimates they have been hidden for about 70 years. The 
pictures and map are now on display in the Fremont County Pio- 
neer Museum in Lander. 

Fort Thompson (Camp Magraw), the first fort established in 
the Lander Valley, was located in the spring of 1858 by a U.S. 
Government road building crew which was engaged in building 
what was known as the Fort Kearney, South Pass and Honey Lake 
Wagon Road. Frank Lowe, an early pioneer of Lander Valley, 
acting as guide for the expedition, led the party to a location in the 


valley about three miles below the present town of Lander for 
winter quarters. Here they built and named Fort Thompson in 
honor of the then incumbent Secretary of the Interior. However, 
the old timers called the site Camp Magraw. While stationed there 
Magraw was discharged by the government because of mismanage- 
ment and was replaced by Colonel F. W. Lander. The settlement 
in the valley above Fort Thompson, which was first known as Push 
Root, was renamed Lander by Frank Lowe in honor of his friend 
Colonel Lander. 

In a treaty made at Fort Bridger in 1868 between the U. S. Gov- 
ernment and the Shoshone Indians, Washakie, Chief of the Sho- 
shones, selected the Wind River Valley for his reservation, and 
stipulated that the Government establish a military post to protect 
the Shoshones from raiding Arapaho, Cheyenne and Sioux. Camp 
Augur named in honor of General C. C. Auger, in command of 
Headquarters at Omaha, was established at Lander in 1869. One 
year later the name was changed to Fort Brown in honor of Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Frederick Brown who was killed in the the Fetter- 
man Massacre at Fort Phil Kearny in 1 866. 

Even after the forts were built here hostile Indians committed 
many depredations in the Popo Agie valleys. On July 24, 1873, 
while most of the men of the Lander Valley were in the mountains 
getting out house logs, Pete Anderson and Charley Fogg, from a 
location about two miles above Lander, saw what looked like one 
man driving a band of horses into the town from the east. When 
the cavalcade got within a short distance of the Hall cabin, located 
about where the Lander post office now stands, an Indian on each 
horse straightened up and they charged the house where Mrs. Hall 
and her niece, Mrs. Richardson, were living. The Indians killed 
the two women, and when the men returned from the mountains 
that evening they found the bodies in the cabin. Mrs. Hall had 
evidently tried to defend herself, as a butcher knife was in her hand. 
The two women had come to Lander to join with their husbands 
who were returning from the California gold rush. While waiting 
the women ran a sort of road ranch and sold milk and eggs to the 

Fort Brown of Lander was moved to a site near the head of Little 
Wind River. In 1878 the name was changed again — this time to 
Fort Washakie in honor of the famous chief of the Shoshones. 

In the 1880's there was a hot contest between Milford, a settle- 
ment about four miles north, and Lander to see which would be the 
county seat. Lander won by only a few votes. It was incorporated 
in the summer of 1 890. 

Here is an amusing story told of the arrival of the first passenger 
train in Lander in 1906. The railroad officials had advertised this 
momentous event throughout the county as the grand opening of 
the C & N W Railroad and its advent into the Lander Valley and 
Fremont County. Citizens of South Pass, Pinedale, Jackson Hole, 


Dubois and the Shoshone Reservation gathered at the new Lander 
depot. The engineer of this first passenger train was an Irishman 
who loved to pull his jokes or shenanigans on the unsuspecting 
crowds. He had a good head of steam up. When a large crowd of 
spectators had gathered around to gaze at the iron horse he let off a 
big head of steam to watch the crowd scatter and yell. He poked 
his head out the cabin window when it was time to pull up the 
train, swung his arm in a sweeping circle and yelled, "Look out, 
you hill billies, I'm going to turn her around." Most of the spec- 
tators ran for the side streets, thinking the train was going to turn 
around right there. The engineer and his train crew had a good 
laugh at the expense of the pioneers. 

SUNDAY - JULY 2, 1967 

Caravan 22 cars - 8 1 participants 

Guides: Oscar Deal, Jules Farlow, Dick Eklund 

8:00 A. M. The trekkers met at the Pioneer Museum where the 
pictures, artifacts and antiques were enjoyed. The 1865 map of 
the U.S. which was recently unearthed in the Baldwin attic was the 
principal attraction. 

9:00 A.M. We left on Highway 287 for Fort Washakie (15 M.) 
where we assembled at the Headquarters of the Wind River Indian 

By Clyde W. Hobbs, Superintendent 

You are now at Wind River Indian Agency, Fort Washakie, 
Wyoming. From here business is conducted by the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs under the direction of the Superintendent. The 
original office building is still standing, and is still being used at the 
Agency. This was originally constructed as 15th Infantry Head- 
quarters for the U. S. Army. Fort Augur was first established in 
1869 at approximately 3rd and Main in Lander to protect emi- 
grants using the South Pass route to California and Oregon. The 
name was later changed to Camp Brown, and in 1871 moved to 
the present site to protect the Agency families at Wind River. It 
was called Fort Brown until 1878 when the name was changed to 
Fort Washakie to honor the Chief of the Shoshone Tribe. 

The new tribal headquarters building was constructed by the 
Shoshone and Arapahoe Tribes as a place for the Business Councils 
to meet, and for hearings and trials. It also houses the tribal jail. 

Turn west on the road just south of the post office for a quick 
tour of some of the more accessible points of interest. To the left 
is the new Shoshone Community Building. This modern building 
has meeting rooms, a gymnasium, showers, and a kitchen. It 


replaces the old community building just to the west which was 
built in the 1930's by the CCC. A little further along the road is a 
gift shop and cafe where souvenir articles may be purchased. Most 
of the articles and jewelry are made by local Indians. 

Across the road to the north is the old military cemetery where 
Chief Washakie is buried. Although the soldiers' graves were 
moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, many years ago. the grave of 
Chief Washakie was left intact. Chief Washakie, known to the 
Indians as "White Haired Chief with Scarred Face," was born 
about 1798 and is of Umatilla and Flathead Indian descent. He 
joined the Shoshone Tribe in 1 830, and quickly rose to a position 
of leadership which he held until his death some 60 years later. 

Although the Wind River Valley was greatly prized by many 
tribes for its rich hunting grounds, Chief Washakie with a small 
band of Shoshones and Bannocks was able to hold the land through 
the use of military-like plans and strategy. He was always cooper- 
ative toward the U. S. troops, and in 1868, because of his help in 
subduing the Sioux, was awarded this area for the Shoshones. At 
his death in 1900 Chief Washakie was given full military honors 
with a funeral procession two miles long. Even many of his old 
enemies came to pay him tribute as a warrior. 

Follow the road to the south and west to a small cemetery located 
on a rising hillside. There you will find the grave of Sacajawea, 
also known as Bird Woman. Although a member of the Shoshone 
tribe, she was reared by the Gros Ventre Indians and eventually 
married a French-Canadian, Charbonneau, whom she accompanied 
on the Lewis and Clark expedition. Credit is given to her as the 
real guide for part of the journey. In later years she returned to her 
tribe and died on the Wind River Reservation in 1884. 

To the south where the gravel road joins the oiled road is the 
site of Roberts Episcopal Mission which was founded by Dr. John 
Roberts in 1889. He came as a missionary to Wind River Valley 
in 1883. In 1885 he built his first church at Wind River, the 
"Church of the Redeemer." His work earned him the respect of 
both Indians and whites; he was a very good friend of Chief Wash- 
akie, for whom he conducted final rites. Dr. Roberts died in 1949 
after 66 years of service and is buried in the Lander cemetery. 

Go east from this junction for about a mile and to the south you 
will see an old blockhouse. This is Wind River, the original site of 
the Wind River Agency. The blockhouse was built for the pro- 
tection of personnel at Wind River. It was always stocked with 
fuel, food and water (a well was dug inside the building), so that 
upon the approach of hostile Indians all personnel could take cover 
in this almost fireproof building until the danger passed. 

The road to the north from Wind River goes past the Sun Dance 
grounds where each summer members of the Shoshone tribe per- 
form this religious ceremony, which lasts three days from sunrise 


until the dog star appears in the sky. The actual time differs each 
year according to the decision of head men of the tribe. 

Just north of the Sun Dance grounds is the rodeo arena. During 
summer months rodeos are held regularly. Some are open to all 
participants, and some only to Indian contestants. The public is 
welcome to both the Sun Dance and the rodeos. 

South of the Agency about Vi mile along Highway 287 is a 
small commercial center, with a grocery store and gas station. The 
junction going to the east from this point goes past the old Govern- 
ment Day School site. This school was set up in 1884 by Rev- 
erend Roberts, who ran it for five years. The school continued 
as a Government school until 1955, when the plant was greatly 
improved and turned over to the local school district for a public 
school known as Fort Washakie School. 

9:30 A.M. For the next two hours we followed Mr. Hobbs' 
itinerary and visited Washakie's grave in the old military cemetery, 
Sacajawea's grave in the unique Indian cemetery and Roberts 


By Charles Markley 

When the Indian Department of the United States Government 
built an industrial boarding school at the Shoshone Indian Agency 
in 1884 for Shoshone and Arapaho girls and boys, the Episcopal 
missionary priest of the area, the Reverend John Roberts, was 
asked to fill the position of superintendent of the school. This he 
did for many years. During that time he saw the great need for a 
mission school which was made possible when Chief Washakie gave 
1 60 acres of land to Dr. Roberts for its site. This gift of land was 
ratified by an act of Congress and by the Shoshone Tribal Council 
a few years later. 

In making this wonderful donation, Washakie surely had the 
welfare of the children at heart. He had said, "Our hope is in the 
children and young people, the old ones 'can't hear'." He realized 
the value of educating them in Christian schools where they would 
be given the opportunity of becoming self-respecting and self- 
supporting citizens. 

It is regrettable that no picture was taken of the laying of the 
cornerstone of the Shoshone Mission — sometimes called, errone- 
ously, "Roberts Mission." At that time the only man owning a 
camera lived 150 miles from the reservation. The picture would 
be of interest today. Not only were all the Indians present, dressed 
in the most colorful costumes of that early time, but the whole 
garrison from Fort Washakie was in attendance. A feast of roast 
beef, many loaves of bread and coffee without measure, was served 
to the guests. There was the smoking of the ceremonial pipe and 
talks and dancing until late at night. 


The site was a lovely one at the west end of the reservation, at 
the foot of the Wind River Range, on the open sagebrush prairie. 
At that time not a fence nor a farm was in sight, only a few tepees 
could be seen along the banks of Trout Creek. The place was also 
sacred to the Indians. Many of their most solemn assemblies and 
religious dances had been held on the very ground they were giving 
for religious and educational purposes. 

The building was a two story structure of bricks which were 
manufactured on the grounds. Many windows made the rooms 
bright and cheery. Ceilings were high and all plastered a dazzling 
white. The building was completed in 1890 though not really 
ready for occupancy, but the chiefs and head men of the tribe came 
asking for admittance for their daughters. Forty little girls had to 
be turned away for lack of room. 

The large dining room was used not only as a dining area, but as 
the school room, a visiting room for the parents and a meeting 
place for morning and evening prayers. A good many years passed 
before an additional dining room, school room and bathrooms were 
built. Twenty-five Shoshone girls, between the ages of five and 
eighteen, lived here during the week. On Saturday morning their 
parents took them home for a visit until Sunday afternoon when 
they returned in time for baths, the evening service and supper. 

The daily routine began with breakfast at seven followed by a 
detail of girls going to different duties, such as dormitory, kitchen, 
dining room and laundry work. At nine the chapel bell rang for 
morning prayers and an hour of religious instruction followed. The 
pupils learned the Catechism, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed and the 
Ten Commandments in English and in their own language. There 
were two classes a week in cooking and sewing. Hand work, em- 
broidery, drawing and writing came very easily to the Indian chil- 
dren. After lunch academic classes were held as prescribed by 
the county course of study. 

To help combat homesickness, a circular cabin of logs in the 
fashion of a tepee, was built in the Mission yard. A fire was built 
in the middle of the dirt floor, the smoke escaping through an open- 
ing in the roof. In this imitation tepee the girls were allowed to 
practice their native songs and dances during that wonderful hour 
between supper and evening prayers. On one evening a week the 
older girls were encouraged to exercise their skill in beadwork. 
Buckskin and beads were given them and many happy winter eve- 
nings were spent making beautiful bead bands and purses. 

This school was in session fifty-five years. By stocking the farm 
with cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks and geese and by 
growing all the fruit and vegetables used by the pupils, the school 
was almost self supporting when it was closed in 1945. 

The first hay — one hundred tons of it — was grown on the Mis- 
sion farm in 1897. Besides being a source of revenue to the school, 
the Mission farm proved a valuable object lesson to the Indians 


who, whenever possible, were hired to help with the harvesting of 
the crops. Some few years later the Mission was surrounded by 
their small farms on which hay and grain were growing. Running 
a farm for the support of the school was a very wise measure as the 
Church had very little money for its operation. In fact it had no 
money at all for ten years. Before the Indians received their per 
capita payments, they were too poor to give financial help for the 
education of their children. 

Today almost all of the former pupils, now mothers, grand- 
mothers and great grandmothers, speak with gratitude of their 
happy years spent in school at the Mission. The local school dis- 
trict is now supervising the education of the Indian children. 

11:30 A.M. After returning to Lander several carloads went six 
miles up the nearby canyon to see the amazing Sinks, where the 
Popo Agie River gushes into a cavern to return again to the surface 
lower in the canyon. We passed Borner's Gardens where vege- 
tables were grown to supply the miners during the gold rush. Mrs. 
Borner was related to Calamity Jane who visited her often. The 
1 8th trek disbanded in Lander having spent an enjoyable day and 
a half reliving Wyoming's early history. All are awaiting the 1968 


CASPER Mr. and Mrs. G. E. Wheeler 

Ed Bille ^ r " anc * ^ rs " Grant Willson and sons 

Mary Lynn Corbett EVANSTON 

Dick Eklund r . or ,„ ^„;m 

Bi Donafd e and ° ary ' J ° hn aDd 2Sd Shaw 


S^SuSSSni, Dr. and Mrs. E. A. Gaensslen 

Myrtle Shreffler L ; g G ^ 

Virginia Shugart wn]iam HuUon 

Ednefs KTmb n all Wilkins DaveLog^an' Q "*** & ^^ 

r^wcvpisjxrc Mr. an ^ Mrs. Ernest Nott 

^ifcYfciNiNU Mr. and Mrs. Adrian Reynolds 

Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Bamhart George Stephens 

Rosalind Bealey W. Yates 

Winifred Bergren lAruervM 

Mr. and Mrs. James Boan and Kelley JACKSON 

Mr. and Mrs. Rolla Bray Ida C. Wied 

Maurine Carley 

Virginia Carlisle LANDER 

Bill Dubois Oscar Deal 

Jane H. Houston Hazel Harris 

Mary M. Hutchison Mr. and Mrs. Hildebrand 

Mr. and Mrs. Dale Jordan Mary Hornecker 

Christine Lynch Mark W. Jervis 

Dorris Sander O. W. Leedy 

Eleanor Thompson Mildred Luid 


Charles Markely 
Roberta McWhinnie 
Betty Winborne 


Mr. and Mrs. John Lund 


Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Watson 


Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jensen 


Mr. and Mrs. Ed Varley and family 


Mr. and Mrs. John Wing 

J. R. Armstrong 

Ed M. Tierney 

John P. Noonan, Sr. 

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Lambertsen 


Clara Hall 

Mr. and Mrs. Keith Millard 

Mrs. Ora Seipt 

Sylvia Zimmer 


Henry Chadey and children 

Virgie Draney 

Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Ferrero 

Bill Jordan 

Joe Kannos 

Mr. and Mrs. 

Mr. and Mrs. 

Mark Shaw 
Harold Yednick 


Thomas Leach 


Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer Johnson 

Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Hertzler 
Mr. and Mrs. Rob Robinson 
Mr. and Mrs. Warren Russell 


Elizabeth R. Brownell 


Gabriel Bedish, Grand Island, Neb. 

Mr. and Mrs. Loven, Wilmington, 

Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, Boonton, 

Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Townsend, 

Wheatridge, Colo. 
George WeDer, Bakersfield, Calif. 
Christine Williams, Kansas City, Mo. 

Wyoming State Historical Society 



Adrian Reynolds 

The past year has been one of centennial celebration, to be con- 
cluded next fall. Cheyenne opened with its centennial anniversary 
marking the coming of the railroad. Other towns and cities across 
the south end of Wyoming will mark their railroad centennials 
before the year is over. During 1969, at least part of the state will 
participate in the centennial of John Wesley Powell's western 

These things are not new news, especially. But they do illustrate 
the great interest in history of any area — and we in Wyoming have 
so much colorful history that people should better know and under- 
stand. This is the mission of the Wyoming Historical Society — to 
bring knowledge and understanding of our state history to our own 
people and to the thousands of outsiders who are interested. Wyo- 
ming is, to the outsider, a state of historical adventure and romance. 

County chapters of the Society through the state have not only 
the job of preserving and interpreting history, but also the job of 
interesting more and more citizens in our history. This is done 
through involvement — involving new members and community 
youth in the research and reporting projects of each chapter. The 
state Society is not a pioneer society — it is for any person interested 
in preserving our history and relating it to the present. But the 
main work in this field is at the local chapter level, with the state 
Society acting as coordinator, and suggesting action programs. 
Too, the state group has a definite part in the preservation of his- 
tory and historical objects, through its liaison with the state 
Archives and Historical Department. 

A strong membership allows forceful action to secure legislative 
and public action in attainment of the goals. 

The state Society annually sponsors several categories of awards, 
ranging through school groups to adults, in seeking to encourage 
more interest and to bring to light oft-forgotten facts about local 
and state history. It provides, under certain conditions, grants in 
aid for worthwhile and meaningful writing projects. If necessary 
the Society can aid in securing publishers, or at least, in securing a 
publisher to consider an historical writing. 

Many, many people wear the pinette of the state Society, pro- 
claiming their pride in the chapter and the Society's efforts. 


Most memberships are through county chapters — though many, 
including those from out of state, do not go through a county 
chapter. However, through the chapter membership, one may gain 
a great satisfaction, both in learning more of local history, and in 
taking a personal part in the projects, all of which will have a 
permanent place in the records of a community or a county. 

If young people are going to have a pride in the history of their 
community and state, they must be induced to become interested 
and involved. This is the province of each chapter — but the state 
furthers this with its junior awards each year. 

Today's news is tomorrow's history. We cannot tell it unless we 
preserve it. I'm not talking of the big stories of the news — I am 
talking about the little incidents that make up the life of a com- 
munity, that tell of our current ways of living. Because our fore- 
bears in the state did not do this, we are having the job today of 
community research in order to preserve the story of the past. Part 
of the work of the state Society is to aid in keeping history up to 
date — relating past to the present. 

A huge part of Wyoming's economy is based upon tourism. 
Visitors become highly interested in the romance of our past — 
and when a community can tell that story to the visitor, another 
friend is usually made — and more dollars spent with us. So the 
state and local Societies have an important role in our state's 
economic development, also. 

As you read the Annals, just remember that you, too, can con- 
tribute to our knowledge of Wyoming — and can help through the 

Cheyenne, Wyoming September 9-10, 1967 

Registration for the fourteenth annual meeting began at 7:30 
p.m. Friday, September 8, in the historic Atlas Theater at 1 15 West 
16th Street in Cheyenne. An opera, "The Wyoming Tea Party," 
written by Mrs. James Schumacher, was presented by the Cheyenne 
Small Chorus group. It dealt with the story of Esther Morris and 
the right of women to vote and was enthusiastically received. 

The annual business meeting of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society was called to order by the president, Glenn Sweem, at 9:45 
a.m. at the Hitching Post Inn in Cheyenne on September 9, with 
75 present. 

Bill Dubois moved that the reading of the minutes for the 1966 
annual meeting be dispensed with as copies were available. The 
motion was passed. 

A moment of silence was observed in honor of members who had 
passed away during the year. 

Neal Miller, executive secretary, introduced the following dis- 
tinguished members: Mrs. Dudley Hayden and Mrs. Virgil Thorpe, 


members of the Wyoming State Library, Archives and Historical 
Board; Adrian Reynolds and Mrs. Edness Kimball Wilkins, mem- 
bers of the 1967 State Legislature; Jim Petty, museum curator at 
Fort Laramie National Historic Site and Robert Murray, historian 
at Fort Laramie National Historic Site; O. W. Judge from the Fort 
Caspar Museum; Mrs. Mary Capps from the Anna Miller Museum 
in Newcastle; and Mrs. Alice Messick of the Old South Pass His- 
torical Preserve Commission. 

Dudley Hayden of the Park County Chapter invited the Society 
to hold its fifteenth annual meeting in Jackson in 1968. Mrs. 
Mabel Brown of the Weston County Chapter invited the Society to 
Newcastle in 1968 but withdrew the 1968 invitation after discus- 
sion and suggested that the Weston County Chapter would like to 
have the meeting in 1969. Henry Chadey moved that the Society 
accept Teton County's invitation. The motion was seconded and 
was passed unanimously. 

The president appointed the following members to serve on the 
Auditing Committee: Robert Murray and Mrs. Walter Lambert- 
sen. Eunice Hutton, Alice Erickson and Irene Patterson were 
asked to count the ballots. Adrian Reynolds and Mabel Brown 
were appointed to serve on the Resolutions Committee. 

The following treasurer's report was read and placed on file 
for audit: 


September 10, 1966 - September 9, 1967 

Cash and investments on hand September 10, 1966 






Life members 



Hunton Diaries 

$ 20.00 



Cheyenne Sun 






Annals of Wyoming 


Office (phone, postage) 


Printing (membership cards 





Bond $5.00 Secretary of State Tax $1.00 

Historic Trek 


Officer's Expenses 


Secretary Allowance 


Committee Expenses 


Foundation Fund - Filing Fee $10.00 

Secretary of State $2.50 



Awards - Scholarship Robert Murray $200.00 
(Johnson County, 1st payment) 
Grant-in-Aid - Gordon Chappell $100.00 
(The Allegiance of the U.S. Army and 
the U.P. in Southern Wyoming, 
1st payment) 
Grant-in-Aid - Dorothy Milek $200.00 
( Smoking Water - History of Hot Springs 
Park, Final payment) 500.00 

Refund to counties - overpayment of dues 10.50 

Plaque - Little Mary 53.45 

Past President's Certificates 48.16 3,800.77 


September 9, 1967 

Savings - Federal Building and Loan 335.71 
Federal Building and Loan-Life 

Members 3.941.26 

Federal Building and Loan-Bishop Fund 335.47 

Cheyenne Federal Savings 1,423.20 

Certificate in office (514%) 10,000.00 

Cash - First National checking account 1,590.87 

Cash and investments on hand, September 9, 1967 $17,626.51 

The treasurer reported that a few copies of the Hunton Diaries 
(one copy of Volume 3 and seven copies of Volume 5) were avail- 
able at Executive Headquarters. Attractive pinettes, emblem of 
the Society, can be purchased from Executive Headquarters for 
$1.45. These, resold to members of the chapters for $2.00, can 
net a nice return to the chapters, she suggested. 

Mrs. Wilkins asked if money had been set aside for publication 
of worthy historical papers. This set off a lively discussion bring- 
ing out these pertinent facts and questions : ( 1 ) A study should be 
made to suggest the best use of the Society monies. ( 2 ) Should the 
Society refund money to floundering county chapters? ( 3 ) County 
chapters which engage in worth while projects usually show growth 
financially and numerically. (4) The Society is not equipped to 
enter the publication business. (5) A rapid increase in historical 
work and activities is now under way. The Society may have to 
make a commitment of funds to such projects so cannot make 
refunds to the chapters. (6) It has been the policy from the 
initiation of the Society to keep funds intact until some worth while 
project presents itself. (7) The Grant in Aid program must be 
protected. A Grant in Aid manuscript is valuable from the re- 
search viewpoint but financially it may not justify publication. 

Mr. Reynolds moved that the question of allocation of funds be 
studied by the Executive Committee and reported on at the 1968 
annual meeting. 



EXECUTIVE SECRETARY: Mr. Miller called attention to 
the attractive display of xAmerican Association for State and Local 
History materials. He recommended the publications to members 
of the Society as valuable aids to understanding and developing 
their chapters. 

He announced that the October issue of the Annals of Wyoming 
and all succeeding issues will be printed on permanent paper. The 
paper is of regular archival quality, less subject to discoloration, 
tearing, and has much longer shelf life than previously. 

Mr. Miller said that there had been several inquiries as to the 
procedure for the electing of officers and that perhaps this matter 
could be reviewed and another method used. The Society has 
1,140 annual members and 56 life members for a total membership 
of 1,196. 

Mr. Miller thanked individual members of the Society for their 
cooperation with the Archives and Historical Department. He 
expressed appreciation for their interest in the history and artifacts 
of Wyoming and making possible their preservation in the Museum, 
and in the Archives and Historical Divisions of the department. 
He introduced three members of his staff, Mrs. Katherine Halver- 
son, chief of the Historical Research and Publications Division, 
Mrs. Laura Hayes, historical technician, and Mrs. Mary Purcella, 

TREK: Mrs. Wilkins gave a first-hand account of the 1967 
trek from Point of Rocks to Fort Washakie. She mentioned the 
value of collecting data from local people along the route and stated 
that treks are activities which people from all over the state can and 
do enjoy. Ninety-five participated in this year's trek. She com- 
mended the county commissioners in both Sweetwater and Fremont 
Counties for blading the old roads over which the trek passed. She 
added that Dick Eklund, who passed away a few weeks after the 
trek, will be greatly missed as he had served as a dependable guide 
for many of the recent field trips. 

PROJECTS: Mr. Reynolds made the following concrete sug- 
gestions: (1) Study your local organization to determine where 
it is weak. (2) Good, organized, strong publicity is essential. 
Give news, even if it is controversial, to the papers. (3) Interest 
newcomers and young people in your activities. (4) Research 
your own county history. ( 5 ) Realize that history is being made 
today — not only in the past. (6) Work with the Chamber of Com- 
merce for tourist interest. (7) Ask the schools to have one assem- 
bly every year on local history. (8) Plan programs in advance — 
don't wait until the last minute. (9 ) Make new members welcome, 
introduce them and give them a pinette. (10) Give every member 


a committee assignment. (11) Sponsor one good, outstanding his- 
torical public event every year. 

SCHOLARSHIP: Dr. Larson reported that William Barnhart 
is completing a history of Carbon County and Glenn Burkes is 
writing a history of Teton County. Both are expected to finish 
their projects within the next year. Robert Murray began writing 
the history of Johnson County in 1967. 

Under the 1966 Grant in Aid program Gordon Chappell began 
his project, "The Alliance of the U.S. Army and the Union Pacific 
Railroad in Southern Wyoming. " 

FOUNDATION FUND: Mr. Bille explained that the legal 
groundwork for the Foundation Fund had been completed — the 
articles of incorporation have been filed, bylaws drawn up and the 
board members appointed. Now the Society must demonstrate 
that projects which are undertaken are worth while and that the 
Society is in good standing, and each chapter must understand the 
Foundation Fund, he said. 

Mr. Reynolds moved that President Sweem appoint a committee 
to report back with a slate of officers for the Foundation Fund in 
accordance with the constitution. The motion was seconded and 

Frank Bowron, Reuel Armstrong and Edness Kimball Wilkins 
were appointed to the committee. 

It was duly moved by Mr. Armstrong that it is the sense of this 
annual meeting that the executive committee of the Society be 
empowered to consider the transfer of a substantial sum from the 
Society's savings accounts to the Wyoming Historical Foundation 
Fund savings account and to assign regulations for its use and such 
other matters as may be considered necessary by the Society. 

The meeting was recessed at noon until 1 :30 p.m. 


A telegram from Senator Clifford P. Hansen wishing the Society 
a successful meeting was read. 

Mrs. Hord suggested that monies in memory of Dick Eklund be 
contributed to the Historical Foundation Fund. 


The presidents or delegates from the county chapters came for- 
ward to give their reports. Mrs. Hattie Burnstad, president of 
Washakie County Chapter acted as chairman of the panel. Com- 
plete reports are filed in the Society archives. Only the highlights 
are given here. 

Albany County: (read by Clarice Whittenburg) The members 
are working hard on their county museum. Diaries of old-timers 


have been read. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Henderson presented an out- 
standing program with slides of historic trails. 

Big Horn County: No report. Mrs. Burnstad announced that 
the group is making plans for a museum. 

Campbell County: No report. 

Carbon County : ( read by Ed Tierney ) Rawlins Springs, which 
has begun to flow again after 1 5 years, will be rocked in. Members 
have been busy trying to locate the stone which stood above the 
door of the old Central School which was recently demolished. 

Fremont County: (read by Maurine Carley) The chapter is 
proud to have as its member Norman Dickinson, the recipient of 
the Wyoming History Teacher award. The chapter cooperated in 
helping to make the 1967 trek a success by providing guides and 
speakers and arranging for a fine dinner for the group. 

Goshen County: (read by Curtiss Root) Annual awards were 
presented to outstanding history students in the schools. Agate 
fossil beds were visited. A member presented an unusual program 
on 300 varieties of barbed wire. 

Johnson County: No report. 

Laramie County: (read by Bill Dubois) The Happy Jack 
Schoolhouse which was brought in and restored by the Laramie 
County Chapter from the country was dedicated and presented to 
Cheyenne. An historical fair and exhibit was attended by 300 
members and guests. A well-attended meeting was held at Burns. 
All members worked to prepare for this annual meeting. 

Natrona County: (read by Ed Bille) Film of a 1931 climb of 
the Tetons was shown. A fence has been placed around the grave 
of Mary Kelly. A collection of old guns was displayed and 

Park County: (read by Maurine Carley) Plans are being made 
for a marker at a stage stop on the Cody-Meeteetse road. The 
group also plans a monument in memory of Amelia Earhart who 
had anticipated building a summer cabin near Cody. Monthly 
meetings honor an "Old-timer of the Month." 

Platte County: No report. 

Sheridan County: (read by Glenn Sweem) Saving Sheridan Inn 
was the paramount project of the year. On April 1 a gala event 
re-opened the Inn with dignitaries, Indians and many chapter mem- 
bers present. In August the Wagon Box Fight was the subject of 
the meeting on the 100th anniversary of that engagement. 

Sweetwater County: (read by George Stephens) Sweetwater 
County Chapter is busy developing a museum in the new county 
courthouse. The chapter was largely responsible for the success of 
the 1967 trek as several men acted as guides over the desert both 


on the pilot trip and on the trek itself. The chapter also entertained 
the trekkers at a get-together party the night before the trip. 

Teton County: No report. Mrs. Dudley Hayden reported un- 
officially that the chapter saved the old Robert Miller house from 
destruction. A novel project raised funds for the purpose; chances 
were sold for a cake replica of the old house, and a bake sale was 

Uinta County: No report. 

Weston County: No report. Mabel Brown invited the members 
to visit the Anna Miller Mobile History Laboratory and Museum 
which was brought to the annual meeting. She stated that 3,300 
children have enjoyed visiting the laboratory. 

Washakie County: Mrs. Burnstad told of the interest of the 
members in establishing a museum in cooperation with the County 


Mr. Armstrong reviewed the constitution and bylaws of the 
Foundation Fund. He explained that each member of the Wyo- 
ming State Historical Society has a vote, and that the Board for the 
Foundation Fund is to be elected by the Foundation Corporation at 
the annual meeting of the Society. Officers of the Corporation are 
to be elected by the Board. One vacancy is to be filled at this 
meeting. All records are available for examination. 

Mr. Reynolds moved that the Society adopt and ratify the articles 
of incorporation for the Foundation Fund. Mr. Hayden seconded 
the motion and it passed. 

President Sweem recessed the Historical Society business meet- 
ing and called the membership to order as the Foundation Fund 

Mr. Bowron moved the adoption of the bylaws as suggested by 
the committee. The motion was seconded and passed. 

The present Board members or directors drew lots for years of 
service as follows : 

3 year term - Mrs. Edness Kimball Wilkins and Dr. T. A. Larson 

2 year term - Ed Bille and Mrs. Alice Messick 

1 year term - Tom Nichols and the new member 

Glenn Sweem was then elected as director for the one-year term. 

Mr. Bowron moved that the corporate meeting for the Founda- 
tion Fund be closed. The motion was seconded and passed. 

President Sweem reconvened the business meeting of the His- 
torical Society. 

Mr. Reynolds then read the following resolutions: 

WHEREAS the Laramie County Chapter has been most gra- 
cious and generous as host chapter to the 1967 annual meeting of 
the Wyoming State Historical Society and assisted so greatly in 
making necessary arrangements for the convention, 


BE IT RESOLVED that the Society in annual convention extend 
to the Laramie County Chapter its deep thanks and appreciation. 

WHEREAS Maurine Carley and Dick Eklund have during so 
many years, in a truly dedicated manner, been responsible for plan- 
ning and conducting so many successful historical treks which have 
made our historical heritage so vivid, 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Society spread upon its minutes its full 
appreciation of the wonderful contribution Maurine Carley and 
Dick Eklund have made to the understanding of our state's history. 

WHEREAS the Sheridan Count)' Chapter has successfully con- 
cluded a campaign to preserve an important landmark of Wyo- 
ming, the Sheridan Inn, and by doing so has given inspiration to 
other chapters faced by difficult tasks, 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Society in 1967 convention extend 
congratulations to the Sheridan County Chapter and commend 
that chapter for the inspiration furnished to all of us. 

WHEREAS the County Commissioners of Sweetwater and Fre- 
mont Counties made possible a trouble-free historical trek by con- 
ditioning little-used roads, 

BE IT RESOLVED that this Society, in convention assembled, 
extend its thanks to these County Commissioners for their coop- 

WHEREAS the late Dick Eklund gave sustained and inspiring 
service in the study and preservation of Wyoming history, and gave 
unselfishly of time and self in preparing treks and other activities, 
BE IT RESOLVED that the memory of Mr. Eklund be honored 
at this time by a moment of silence, and further, that the memory 
of his service be preserved upon the minutes of this 1967 conven- 
tion of the Wyoming State Historical Society. 

The meeting was adjourned at 3 : 1 5 p.m. 

Members enjoyed a tea at the Governor's Mansion hosted by 
Mr. and Mrs. Neal Miller. 


A smorgasbord was held in the Coach Room at the Hitching 
Post Inn at 7:30 p.m. The tables were appropriately decorated 
with replicas of Cheyenne Centennial medallions commemorating 
Cheyenne's one hundredth birthday. Miniature paper engines, 
complete with puffs of cotton smoke, held printed programs. A 
gold railroad spike and an attractive booklet entitled, "Somethin' 
for the Daily Battle of Life," by Pete Smythe, were at each place. 
Door prizes of a pinette, an Early Cheyenne Homes booklet and 
the new history of Cheyenne, The Magic City of the Plains, were 
given to three lucky persons. 

After the invocation by the Most Reverend Hubert M. Newell, 


Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, Bill Dubois, master of 
ceremonies, introduced the guests at the head table. 

Glenn Sweem, president of the Society, then announced the fol- 
lowing officers for 1967-1968: President: Adrian Reynolds: First 
Vice President: Curtiss Root: Second Vice President: Mrs. Hattie 
Burnstad; Secretary-Treasurer: Miss Maurine Carley: Executive 
Secretary: Neal E. Miller. 

Neal Miller presented the following junior historian awards: 

1st place (Senior High School): Bill Allen, Worland, $25; 1st 
place (Junior High School): Meg Johnson, Worland $25; 2nd 
place (Junior High School): Cindy Bosch, Worland $10; 3rd 
place (Junior High School): Peggy Barngrover, Worland, book, 
The Shoshonis, Sentinels of the Rockies. 

Miss Johnson's parents from Worland and her grandparents 
from Hartville were present to see her receive her award. 

Curtiss Root, chairman of the Awards Committee, presented the 
following adult awards: 

Orrin H. and Lorraine Bonney for their book, Guide to Wyo- 
ming Mountains and Wilderness Areas. 

Remi Nadeau for his book, Fort Laramie and the Sioux Indians. 

Robert D. Hanesworth for his book, Daddy of 'em All. 

Cheyenne Centennial Historical Committee for the book, The 
Magic City of the Plains. 

Elizabeth J. Thorpe for her magazine article, "Johnny Owens, 
Gambler-Sheriff," and others. 

Edith Jackson for her historical articles which appeared in a 
Wyoming magazine. 

Helen Oliver for her historical articles which appeared in a 
Wyoming magazine. 

Jack Langan for his articles which appeared in the Sheridan 
Press and other Wyoming newspapers. 

Board of Trustees of School District No. 1, Newcastle, Wyo- 
ming, for developing its Mobile History Laboratory and Museum. 

Mrs. Alice Messick for her contribution in the preservation of 
South Pass City. 

Bob Evans for his sculptured figurines. 

Olive Marquiss for her oil painting, "The Marble Game". 

Cheyenne Symphony and Choral Society for "A Century of 

Edward Bille for his interest in Wyoming historical activities and 
for the organization of the Wyoming Historical Foundation. 

Clarice Whittenburg for her booklet, Wyoming Prelude to 

Honorable Mention awards were received by: 

Elizabeth J. Thorpe for her water color painting of Tubb Town, 


Laramie County Chapter of the Wyoming State Historical So- 
ciety for the acquisition and restoration of an authentic country 

Shirley Harding for her water color painting of Cambria, Wyo- 

The Wyoming History Teacher Award was received by Norman 
Dickinson of Riverton. 

A posthumous award was presented for Dick Eklund's contri- 
butions to Wyoming history in researching the routes for the 
annual treks of the Society. 

Mr. Sweem presented certificates of appreciation to the follow- 
ing past presidents; Frank Bowron, Dr. T. A. Larson, Mrs. Edness 
Kimball Wilkins, Neal E. Miller, and Mrs. Violet Hord. Mrs. 
Charles Ritter accepted the certificate for the late Mr. Ritter who 
had served from 1962 to 1963. Mr. Reynolds then presented 
Glenn Sweem with his certificate for 1966-1967. 

Certificates will be sent to Dr. Dewitt Dominick, William Mar- 
ion, E. A. Littleton and to relatives of A. H. McDougall and Mrs. 
Thelma Condit. These attractive certificates depict the history and 
development of Wyoming by means of small sketches around the 
edge of the paper. Mr. Sweem designed the certificate and drew 
the sketches. 

Mr. Dubois then introduced the speaker of the evening, Pete 
Smythe, "Mayor of East Tincup," Colorado, and originally from 
Glenrock, Wyoming. He entertained the group with his lively 
Western humor and with old-time tunes at the piano. Two volun- 
teers joined him and the program ended with impromptu music. 


On Sunday morning the Laramie County Chapter hosted a 
chuckwagon breakfast in Lions Park from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. 
Coffee, hot cakes, ham and all the trimmings were enjoyed in the 
crisp autumn air. 

After a tour of the country schoolhouse which has been acquired 
and restored by the Laramie County Chapter the convention ended. 
Friends will look forward to meeting again in Jackson next year. 

Maurine Carley 

ftook Keviews 

The American West: A Reorientation. Edited by Gene M. Gress- 
ley. (Laramie, University of Wyoming Publications, Vol. 
XXXI 1,1966. Index. 172 pp. $5.00) 

When Earl Pomeroy dug his historiographical spurs into the 
flanks of western history the sloven and complacent animal jumped, 
and the age-old theories and restrictive categories went flying in all 
directions. Unfortunately, however, the animal has settled down 
again and with few exceptions it remains the same plodding beast 
whose burden of romanticized provincialism is eased only by the 
occasional death of a dime-novel hero. One of those few excep- 
tions is Gene Gressley's collection, The American West: A Reor- 
ientation, recently published by the University of Wyoming. Gress- 
ley's underlying assumption seems to be that western history is ripe 
for the impact of increased historical scholarship and progressive 
and valid methodology. While on the surface it seems that there is 
an unlimited supply of works in western history, a journey into the 
field will support the position that little of real merit lies under- 
neath. Monographs and original scholarly works on western sub- 
jects are sadly lacking. 

In an effort to relieve some of the frustration of those looking for 
original work in the West, and partly in hope of setting in motion 
once again the reorientation so well started by Pomeroy, editor 
Gressley has pulled together some very fine and important mono- 
graphs. Each of them is the product of a responsible man writing 
with freedom and ability and with the "maturity of approach" 
which Gressley sees must penetrate western history. There are six 
areas of the field covered in this collection. Perhaps most helpful 
of these are Wallace Farnham's article on the Union Pacific's view 
of the railroad in the West, and Richard T. Reutten's dealings with 
Burton K. Wheeler and the Progressive movement in the West. I 
pick these two to mention, not because the others are weak, but 
because reorientation is the theme of Dr. Gressley's collection and 
it is best seen in these two areas where so much has been written 
and yet where so little honest and open-minded research has been 

The American West: A Reorientation is a much-needed step in 
pushing the need for a new and better look at the West which has so 
attracted the imagination of men. Dr. Gressley and the University 
of Wyoming have been very helpful in seeing to it that the history 
of the West will not continue to be simply men's imaginations. 

Graceland College Paul M. Edwards 


A Lije of George Bent, Written From His Letters. By George E. 
Hyde, Edited by Savoie Lottinville. (Norman, University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1968. Index. Illus. 389 pp. $5.95) 

This is a particularly unique book. In source materials, in its 
several stages of editorial work, and in the particular combination 
of three men whose work and experiences spanned more than a 
century to bring the book to print. 

The book is written in autobiographical form, from the con- 
tent of the voluminous correspondence between George Bent and 
George E. Hyde. It was brought to final published form by Savoie 

George Bent was born in 1843, son of William Bent, the famous 
trader, and Owl Woman, a Cheyenne. For the first decade his life 
revolved around Bent's Old Fort on the Arkansas, that stronghold 
of William Bent's considerable mercantile principality on the 
southern plains. He associated often and long with his mother's 
people also. In 1853 William Bent sent George and other children 
to the family farm near Westport, Missouri, where they acquired 
considerable in schooling and culture for the time. After brief 
service in the Confederate army, George Bent returned to the plains 
in 1863, and spent the remainder of his life with his mother's 
people, over 50 years. Few observers have been so uniquely 
equipped to deal with the realities of two conflicting cultures. 

George E. Hyde died early this year in Bellevue, Nebraska. He 
overcame what would have been to most insurmountable physical 
handicaps, to serve as a research assistant to George Bird Grinnell, 
and later become perhaps the noted scholar of Indian history 
in this century. For more than a dozen years before George Bent's 
death, he and Hyde carried on a continuous correspondence. It is 
from these letters that Hyde wrote the Bent story in autobiograph- 
ical form, supplying dates and American names from detailed re- 
search in official record materials on many of the events involved. 

Savoie Lottinville, the final editor of the manuscript, served for 
about thirty years as director of Oklahoma University Press, and 
has without doubt examined more manuscripts on the Indian than 
any other editor. His institution produced under his directorship 
some ninety titles in its Civilization of the American Indian series. 

The net result of this lengthy and complex collaboration is an 
outstanding book. There is much of value to the anthropologist 
interested in Cheyenne culture. Even more significant in many 
ways is the detailed description of many events to which Bent was 
an eye witness. One gets the impression that perhaps Bent com- 
municated more effectively with the range of Indian informants he 
interviewed to obtain data on incidents he had not personally wit- 
nessed, than did many researchers with less intimate knowledge of 
Cheyenne customs and language. Hyde brought to bear his wealth 
of information on the policy and operational context in which 


Bent's collection of incidents occurred. Lottinville's editorial skill 
is evident in the light touch he used in his editing, and the care with 
which he prepared additional context data. The book's shortcom- 
ings seem largely cartographic. Wyoming students will find this 
particularly true, since George Bent spent but little time on the 
northern plains, and many of his locations and distances here are 
hazy. Hyde worked under distressing handicaps of vision and 
hearing which precluded his becoming effectively acquainted with 
the detailed geographic setting of the events involved. Lottinville 
worked under the severe pressure of time and Hyde's advanced 
age. Lottinville's mistakes in geography frequently derive from his 
uncritical acceptance of certain weak points in the efforts of earlier 
University of Oklahoma Press authors. These shortcomings can be 
overcome by those most likely to use the book. Serious students of 
western history will find that it is not especially difficult to locate 
the settings involved, and to orient themselves from data in other 
works, not always cited. 

A Life of George Bent opens the door to a better understanding 
of the Cheyenne in a period of cultural crisis, and it thus belongs on 
the bookshelf of every student of the era and the people. 

Robert A. Murray 

Firearms, Traps & Tools of the Mountain Men. By Carl P. Russell. 
(New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Co., 1967. Index. Illus. 448 
pp. $12.50) 

The dust jacket of the book describes it as '"A guide in picture & 
text to the equipment of the trappers and fur traders who opened 
the Old West from the 1820's to the 1840's." The book contains 
seven extensively detailed chapters, four very useful appendices, 
and a 22-page bibliography containing over 500 separate entries. 
According to the preface, the book is the result of more than thirty- 
five years of research on the subject. It opens with a chapter en- 
titled "The Mountain Men in American History," in which the 
author presents a description of the fur trade activities against the 
backdrop of American western expansion. He then broadens the 
presentation to include detailed analyses of fur trade firearms, 
traps, fur processing techniques, knives, axes, small implements, 
boats, firesteels, and smithing techniques. The entire work is char- 
acterized by very careful historical research, detailed documenta- 
tion, and scholarly writing. The text is complemented by more 
than 400 line-drawing illustrations of artifact-type collections and 
manufacturing processes of importance in the fur trade history. 
Many of these drawings were made specifically for use in Dr. 
Russell's book and hence reflect the work's intent to be specific, 
clear and useful. 


Dr. Russell includes four appendices in his book, one of which 
might well prove to be of as much value as the total work itself. 
Appendix A, "Historic Objects as Sources of History," relates the 
advent and growth of the historian-archaeologist concept in Amer- 
ica during the past fifty years. The section's greatest value lies in 
its clear call for all researchers in things historical to recognize the 
value — and limitations — of historical objects to the study of his- 
tory. This appendix should be required reading for all historians 
and anthropologists, whether they be student or professional. In 
fact, all levels of proficiency in all historical fields would profit from 
a close reading of this section of Dr. Russell's work. 

It is the opinion of this reviewer that Dr. Russell has put together 
one of the finest and most comprehensive books on the subject of 
mountain men impedimenta available to date. His work is thor- 
ough, scholarly, and hence of great research value. What is more, 
it is historically exciting and very readable. 

Unfortunately, Dr. Russell did not live long enough after his 
book's publication to be able to enjoy the plaudits the work justly 
deserves. It therefore stands as a fitting memorial to the dedication 
and scholarship of a man who loved his country's history and 
applied himself impressively to its documentation. 

Mission, South Dakota Clyde D. Dollar 

Cheyenne Memories. By John Stands In Timber and Margot Lib- 
erty, with the assistance of Robert M. Utley. (New Haven 
and London, Yale Universirv Press, 1967. Index. Illus. 330 
pp. $7.95) 

The history of the Cheyenne Indians is a memorable story. What 
could be more fitting than to have their cultural history presented in 
the Indians' traditional story-telling fashion? As the Cheyennes' 
tribal historian, John Stand in Timber has collaborated with Margot 
Liberty in doing just that. Cheyenne Memories resulted from the 
combined efforts of these two individuals, each supplying a neces- 
sary ingredient to record a legacy that would have otherwise passed 
into oblivion. 

John Stands In Timber, who regrettably did not live to see the 
book published, was not by any means the conventional historian 
of the academic world. His research involved a lifetime of living 
and conversing with, listening to and remembering what his people 
said and believed. He footnoted this with a respected tribal rela- 
tionship and a long-standing dedication to preserving his people's 
heritage. To Margot Liberty fell the determined task of getting 
what John had to say on paper. This included the recording, 
organizing, editing and publishing. 

Essentially the dialogue of the book is that of John Stands in 


Timber, simply told in the language of the white man but always 
retaining the flavor and expression of the Indian. It is not the 
stilted pseudo-redman lingo of popular western fiction, and as a 
result reads smoothly. In fact much of the fascination of the book 
rests largely on this unique communicative medium. Throughout 
is the rekindled spirit of campfire and battle. 

Cheyenne Memories deals with the tribe's early legends passed 
down through the generations, and continues into historic times and 
early reservation life. This is what could be considered the period 
of the rise and decline of the Cheyennes as Plains Indians. Indian 
War buffs will find new and interesting sidelights on many of the 
battles during the final resistance of the Plains Indians. There is 
even some new information on the Custer fight and its aftermath. 
Considering that it came from the accounts of the actual survivors, 
its credibility is greatly enhanced. 

The book is liberally footnoted. In these Margot Liberty brings 
her anthropological background into play and reveals a consider- 
able knowledge of the events and forces discussed by Stands In 
Timber. Sometimes the footnotes are explanatory; sometimes they 
are added to keep the record straight where Stands In Timber's 
account varies significantly from other accepted accounts. It can- 
not be denied that they strengthen the text but stopping to read 
them is sometimes an annoying interruption. Maps and photos 
round out the book but their placement does not conveniently sup- 
port the narrative. 

Much has been written on the American Indians, particularly the 
Cheyennes, but generally as the white man viewed them. Such 
works as this, expressed from the Indians' point of view, cannot 
help but put the Indian into a truer perspective. Unfortunately 
the passage of time will prevent this type of approach in the future. 
As John Stands In Timber states in one passage: "They are all 
gone now, and if anyone did know it is too late to find out." Now 
he, too, is gone. 

Everyone should find something of interest in Cheyenne Mem- 
ories for it is a rare combination of folklore, anthropology, sociol- 
ogy, ethnology, and history. Best of all, it is interesting reading. 

Cheyenne William R. Barnhart 

Doctors of the Old West. By Robert F. Karolevitz. (Seattle, Super- 
ior Publishing Co., 1967. Index. Illus. 191pp. $12.95) 

In the foreword, the author states that the purpose of this book 
is to give "the doctor his due." This aim is accomplished in a most 
entertaining fashion. This is not a "crunching" step-by-step his- 
torical work. Instead, it is as the author intended, "a nostalgic 
glance backward" at those activities of interest revolving about 


medicine in the "Old West." These glances include a great number 
of old-time photos of which I am particularly fond. 

The book traces the evolution of medical practice from the 
supremacy of the Indian medicine man through the Army Surgeon, 
the "saddlebag practitioners," pioneer physicians and nurses. 

Doctors of today who feel put upon by their self-imposed com- 
mittees to maintain quality control of medical practice may take 
heart. The medicine man of most Indian tribes was allowed to lose 
six patients. If this unfortunate patient mortality came about, he 
was similarly dispatched to the Happy (?) Hunting Ground. Quite 
a stimulus for good patient care! 

The thrust westward and the role of the military surgeon was 
most important, not only because of the introduction of sound 
medical practices, but also because of many extra-medical interests 
and contributions. For example, Army Assistant Surgeon Albert 
J. Myer developed an interest in communications, was named sig- 
nal officer, the first one. From this developed the Signal Corps, 
the ultimate development of meteorological reports and the U.S. 
Weather Bureau. 

While the military surgeons introduced sound medicine and 
many were later world famous, such as Gorgas, Walter Reed and 
Leonard Wood, there were other types of "doctors" on the loose. 
Whether "quack" or "eclectic" they were colorful! They even sold 
Indian Kickapoo Juice at a healthy (pardon) profit. 

Eventually some semblance of order came to the West and the 
doctor played a surprisingly large role in the early territories. 
Abraham Lincoln demonstrated his good sense by appointing two 
doctors as territorial governors (bias admitted by this reviewer). 
One was his family doctor, assigned to the Dakotas. The other, 
John Evans, was appointed to Colorado. Evans' immense contri- 
butions in Illinois prior to this appointment (Evanston, Northwest- 
ern University, Chicago and Fort Wayne Railroad) and his influ- 
ence in Colorado (beef, railroads, University of Denver) can hardly 
be underestimated. 

The interest of pioneer doctors in politics was, to say the least, 
continued into the early years of western statehood. In Wyoming, 
this interest can best be illustrated by the sequence of our first gov- 
ernors: Warren, Barber, Osborne. The latter two were doctors. 

When Francis E. Warren became U.S. Senator, Doctor Barber, 
the Secretary of State, assumed the governorship. But in the next 
election, he lost to Doctor Osborne. Thus Wyoming achieved the 
distinction (perhaps dubious today) of back-to-back doctor gov- 

Governor-elect Osborne was a little overanxious to assume his 
office. The Johnson County cattle war had aroused bitter passions. 
Osborne crept into the Governor's office via a window (undoubt- 
edly left open by a careless sanitary engineer) and spent the night 
in a sleeping bag in the Governor's office. When he demanded the 


great seal on the following December morn, he was summarily 
ejected from the premises and directed back to Rawlins to await the 
constitutionally declared January day. This pleasant interchange 
of medical coflegiality may have been an early forerunner of later 
doctor-doctor relationships but I doubt that they were the inno- 

Such are the stories in this book, and many more. The Catholic 
nuns who did so much to provide hospitals for the West (and in 
Arizona in 1883 were criticized for charging $1.00 per day); the 
early trials of the Mayos (and their admission that their mother was 
a good doctor); Doctor Irwin and the Apaches which led to his 
selection as the first Medal of Honor winner (but 32 years later); 
the fee schedule of Dr. Maghee of Rawlins (hide this from Blue 
Cross-Blue Shield); the delightful and thoughtful gift of Dr. Os- 
borne to Dr. Lillian Heath (both of Rawlins) of a door stop (inter- 
estingly enough, the top of the skull of "Big Nose Parrott"). 

As you may surmise, this is an interesting book. 

Cheyenne Francis A. Barrett, M.D. 

The Johnson County War. By Jack R. Gage. (Cheyenne. Flint- 
lock Publishing Co., 1967. Illus. 168 pp. $4.95) 

Jack Gage's two-sided, flip-format new book bears a rather 
irreverent title for each side of the book — The Johnson County 
War Is A Pack of Lies, The Barons Side, and The Johnson County 
War Ain't A Pack of Lies, The Rustlers Side. Perhaps the titles 
are the tip-off that the author has produced another of his tongue- 
in-cheek accounts of Wyoming history. 

The subject of the Johnson County War, possibly the one most 
controversial episode in the state's history, has challenged many 
writers since that spring of 1892 when the "'Daisy Special" train 
went north from Cheyenne. Gage's answer to the challenge is 
certainly not academic, completely objective and documented his- 
tory, but he quite obviously didn't intend that it should be. 

Both sides of the Johnson County War are presented with utter 
candor — or bias, as you will. But the point is that he does present 
both sides. To quote from his foreword, "... the author has 
attempted to give everyone a chance to contribute, and has given 
those who have contributed a completely free hand to say whatever 
they wished. It is well worth noting that in no instance did . . . 
any of them say so much as a single ill word about the other side." 
Those who contributed were in most cases descendants of the men 
most deeply involved in the invasion, and Gage gained the infor- 
mation through apparently long and thorough interviews and other 
research. Interlaced with these facts are the author's personal 
condemnations, justifications and interpretations of the endless and 
complicated facets of the situation. 


One of the strong points of the book is that it is not the kind of 
misinformation and misconceptions that are often recorded when 
an author makes little more than a whistle-stop visit to an area to 
gather material for a book. Gage is an almost-native son who loves 
his state and its people, can objectively appreciate the fact that 
there were two sides to the Johnson County trouble and has sin- 
cerely wanted to record both sides. 

Readers familiar with his highly individual style of writing don't 
have to be warned to not swallow it whole. One of his own state- 
ments in the book, although it related specifically to the Cheyenne 
Club, pretty well defines his attitude toward writing: "If the years 
have over-polished some of the yarns, . . . what's the harm in a 
well-polished yarn? We can start them with "Once upon a time" 
and you can buy as much as you want." Gage fans are also con- 
ditioned to expect the author's wry humor and random philosophy 
in likely and unlikely places, and they won't be disappointed in this 
new book. 

Wyomingites, or other readers oriented to the state's history, may 
enjoy this informal pro and con dissertation more than those who 
don't have a built-in background about the local history and the 
personalities involved, but generally it should provide diverting 
reading and a reasonably sound, if slightly sugar-coated, dose of 
Wyoming history. 

Cheyenne Katherine Halverson 

Rocky Mountain Mining Camps. The Urban Frontier. By Duane 
A. Smith. (Bloomington and London, Indiana University 
Press. Index. Illus. 1967. 304 pp. $6.95) 

In Rocky Mountain Mining Camps the author presents a vast 
amount of general information about early mining camps in Mon- 
tana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Colorado, Arizona 
and New Mexico from 1 859 to 1890. The book represents diligent 
research through diaries and unpublished reminiscences, inspection 
of contemporary newspapers, and examination of the files of his- 
torical societies, in addition to reading books. Expertly Mr. Smith 
has woven an overall summary of the economic and social develop- 
ment, also the decline, in many instances, of the camps. He tells 
his composite conclusions in nontechnical terms. 

To him the camp reflected the frontier traits of independence and 
adaptiveness. Yet it was an urban community in the true sense of 
the word. "The mining camp," explains the author, "stands almost 
alone as a phenomenon of frontier America." 

In discussing camp schools, architecture, transportation, roads, 
elections, fires, supplies, religious matters and the like, the author 
states that the "community existed for one major purpose — to 
make money." 


Was the camp a phenomenon because it was urban or because it 
existed for one major purpose — to make money? Perhaps, both. 

There is in the book considerable discussion of the "heyday of 
vice which coincided with the period of greatest prosperity.'' And 
the author comments that "almost all the male members of the 
community at one time or another took their pleasure in the 
saloons, gambling houses, or brothels, which were as much a part 
of the community as the store or church." 

Perhaps this is a natural conclusion to reach when so much 
emphasis was placed by pioneer journalists upon the evils of society 
rather than upon the accomplishments of the many good men who 
built the camp into maturity. 

The reader's interest is aroused by reference to the work of 
bunko and confidence artists, the sale of fake mining stock, the 
working of the gold brick scheme and the mock lottery. Details of 
some of these schemes would prove fascinating reading. 

Through the entire book runs the theme that the miner opened 
the land, but the farmer settled it and the railroad supplied it. 

Many of the statements such as those relating to jealousy be- 
tween camps, the difficulty of raising money to finance town gov- 
ernment, the evils of the credit system, the establishment of schools, 
the celebrations of Christmas and the Fourth of July appear to be 
almost identical with those of many pioneer plains and prairie 
towns in the early West. 

Although stressing the importance of the mining camps in west- 
ern settlement, Mr. Smith says: "To imagine that settlement and 
growth would not have come without mining would be absurd. 
Certainly railroads, schools, farming, roads and towns would have 
appeared eventually, but the tempo, direction, influence, and sig- 
nificance were changed by the mining frontier and its camps. This 
is true not only for the immediate region, but to a lesser degree, for 
the surrounding states as well." 

To weld the innumerable facts together concerning the far-flung 
mining camps in the Rockies in order to present a composite, 
economic whole was a tremendous task. Duane Smith has com- 
mendably accomplished what he set out to do. The book is easy 
reading and will be appreciated by low-landers, as well as by those 
who are familiar with the top-country mines. 

Denver Agnes Wright Spring 

Our Heritage. By Shirley E. Flynn. (Cheyenne, The Centennial 
Committee, St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Index. Illus. 143 
pp. $5.00) 

Every "first" captivates the interest of the historically minded but 
seldom is there a first in church life with the romance and drama 
of St. Mark's in Chevenne. On the occasion of its hundredth anni- 


versary, Wyoming's first church commissioned Shirley E. Flynn to 
write of the parish's beginning and development. She entitled her 
book Our Heritage, 100 Years at St. Mark's. The story is a de- 
lightful account of the early spiritual life in the capital, closely 
related to Camp Carlin, Fort D. A. Russell and the government of 
the territory. Spiced with personal anecdotes and illustrated with 
photographs of early leaders and their activities, it is both unique 
and compelling, truly an historical pageant. The correlation of 
ecclesiastical activities with the early history of the state makes this 
a work which many western historians will consider a must. 

Chevenne William R. Dubois 

Diamonds in the Salt. By Bruce A. Woodard (Boulder, Colo., 
Pruett Press, 1967. Index. Thus. 200 pp. $6.75) 

This is a story of the great diamond hoax of 1872, described by 
the author as "the only known case of the use of diamonds in the 
salting of a mine." Perpetrated at a time when the diamond dis- 
coveries were being made in South Africa, this story has been told 
in capsule form many times in Sunday supplements. In this vol- 
ume, it is thoroughly researched for the first time. 

The master mind of this gigantic swindle was Philip Arnold, a 
Kentuckian, who had joined the gold rush in California following 
the Mexican War, and had been involved in a number of mining 
enterprises. By the early 1870's, many of the gold and silver 
rushes had spent their force and both miners and investors had 
reached a stalemate. Many were looking for new opportunities 
for re-establishing themselves. Stories by the mountain men that 
diamonds and sapphires could be picked up on the gravel plains of 
southern Colorado and northeastern and eastern Arizona encour- 
aged them in the belief that precious stones might be an untapped 
source of wealth in the West. Diamonds had already become a 
status symbol in San Francisco and in other cities of the United 

The "salting" of gold and silver mines was not an uncommon 
practice in swindling the unwary. With this in mind, Arnold, with 
two confederates, conceived the idea of salting a diamond mine. 
Operating in the deepest secrecy, Arnold made a visit to Europe 
where he purchased some $20,000 worth of uncut diamonds and 
other precious stones which he subsequently smuggled into the 
United States through Canada. After returning, he succeeded in 
involving a number of prominent and highly respectable people in 
the swindle which included Charles Lewis Tiffany, of the world- 
famous jewelry house of Tiffany, General George B. McClellan, of 
Civil War fame, General Benjamin F. Butler and Horace Greeley. 

After obtaining financial support, Arnold and his closest con- 
federate were instrumental in organizing the Galconda Mining 


Company, a corporation capitalized at $10,000,000. In organiz- 
ing this company, Arnold succeeded in influencing several respect- 
able business men in San Francisco to advance him large sums of 
money in return for stock. The company employed Henry Janin, 
a highly competent and reputable mining engineer to inspect the 
alleged diamond field and advance him stock. 

After a careful study, Arnold then selected a site for the diamond 
field which was located in a very isolated spot in the northwest 
corner of Colorado, near the Utah and Wyoming lines. Carefully 
eluding all followers and trackers, he visited the field and salted it 
with diamonds. Janin later inspected the field and gave a very 
glowing report to the company on his findings. Plans were pro- 
jected for mining the diamonds. 

Despite the fact that the company operated in the deepest secre- 
cy, reports of the alleged discovery reached the financial world. 
Within a short time at least twenty-five companies were organized, 
with a total capitalization of $223,500,000 with the view of ex- 
ploiting the reported new source of wealth. 

Arnold's hoax was not to go long undiscovered. Following his 
completion of the Fortieth Parallel Survey, Clarence King, noted 
geologist, by putting together the topographical hints dropped by 
members of the diamond parties, decided that he was familiar with 
the location of the alleged diamond field. After inspecting the 
field and discovering it had been salted, King revealed his findings 
to Janin and the Galconda Mining Company. 

Following the uncovering of the swindle, Arnold and his family 
returned to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where the home-town boy 
was subsequently held in respect for "out-Yankeeing the Yankees." 
Although one of the persons he swindled succeeding in recovering 
$150,000 from him, Arnold lived comfortably in his native state 
for the remainder of his days with a sum of what was believed to be 
$400,000 as the result of his swindle. He died at the age of fifty 
following a shooting affair. 

The author of this volume, an accountant by profession, whose 
literary style leaves much to be desired, devoted some eight years 
in painstaking research in preparing this volume. Those who enjoy 
sensational stories of the Sunday supplement variety will probably 
appreciate this book. 

State Historical Society of North Dakota Ray H. Mattison 

Pioneer Forts of the Old West. By Herbert M. Hart. (Seattle, 
Superior Publishing Co., 1967. Index, lllus. 192 pa»es. 

Herbert M. Hart's latest publication is the fourth in a series 
dealing with the general topic of fortifications in the American 
West. An illustrated guide to trans-Mississippi fortifications erect- 


ed by civilians and the military of Spain, Russia, England, Mexico 
and the United States, the work is of especial value as it surpasses 
the brief detail of a mere compendium. 

Three hundred and seventy -four photographs, sketches and 
ground plans complement the text and more than compensate for 
the author's somewhat rambling style of writing. 

The use of both historic and contemporary illustrations allows 
the reader to contrast historical fact and present day reality. The 
author's comments on modern attempts at restoration are both 
candid and enlightening. 

Hart provides pertinent anecdotes, historical highlights and im- 
portant dates for each site covered by the text. 

Although the author has not intended to present a comprehen- 
sive history of any of the historic sites he mentions, he has succeed- 
ed in presenting more information than one might hope to find in 
one hundred and ninety-two short pages. 

Printed on high gloss stock by the letter press method, Pioneer 
Forts of the Old West is a soundly bound publication utilizing 
heavy end-papers, durable cover boards and excellent, albeit ma- 
chine, workmanship. The shelf-life of this volume should prove to 
be excellent. 

With a thorough index, the author provides brief directions to 
facilitate what could be a long search for some of the more remote 
fort sites. 

Hart is a Lieutenant Colonel of the Marine Corps, a graduate of 
Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and a for- 
mer assistant editor of Leatherneck magazine. In 1965 the Secre- 
tary of War awarded the Commendation Medal to Lt. Col. Hart in 
recognition of his continued interests and activities in the field of 
historical conservation. 

Herbert M. Hart's work will doubtless prove to be a valuable 
tool to the historian, and warrants the attention of both the pro- 
fessional and the amateur. 

Chevenne Dennis Loose 

Tales the Western Tombstones Tell. By Lambert Florin. Superior 
Publishing Co., Seattle, 1967. Index. Illus. 192 pp. $12.95) 

The fallen stones grow moss ... lie half buried in sand; wooden 
crosses rot on a sunny hillside. The brief, sad tales traced into 
their faces are enough to send a man like Lambert Florin off on 
jaunts in a dozen western states in search of the complete stories of 
long-forgotten people and the towns and communities in which 
they lived. 

This is an excellent book for the historian's bedside table, its 
short sketches ideal for brief or all-night reading — in spite of the 
seemingly doleful subject, as melancholy dissolves in tales of 


gaiety, infamy, love, enterprise, religious dedication and disaster. 
The stories contain the myriad patterns that only the lives of people 
can contain for, like snowflakes, no two are ever alike. 

Missionaries and Indians, mule drivers and nuns, blacksmiths 
and doctors — their stories range from comic to tragic. You will 
find pretty Jane Barnes, the London barmaid, flaunting her charms 
in the face of men starved for the sight of a woman; handsome 
Solomon Smith running off with the beautiful Indian princess, 
Celiast; Tosaldo Johnson and his child bride, Addie; Luther Bur- 
bank and his horticultural achievements; Sitting Bull whose bones 
caused a feud between two states; and even Paddy, the beloved dog 
of a Colorado miner. 

There are brief, vivid accounts of the Indian fight at Battle Rock, 
Oregon; finding gold at Alder Gulch, Montana; Indian raids in 
Utah; hangings by vigilantes; river crossings whose natural dangers 
were enhanced by ambushings and many others. 

Of special interest to Wyoming people are the tales of baby Ada 
Magill whose grave is near the center of the "'Big Muddy" oil field, 
and Mary Holmsley whose monument has come to memorialize all 
pioneer women who died on the Oregon Trail. Included are the 
incident of George Pike in early-day Douglas, musings on the 
naming and history of Independence Rock and Register Cliff, the 
Tom Horn story, the Fetterman Massacre and Wyoming's greatest 
ride — that of John "Portugee" Phillips. 

Nostalgic photographs of cemeteries depict markers of every 
description — from piles of stones and crude crosses to an intri- 
guing, suspended cast iron dove and elaborate monuments carved 
by itinerant stone cutters from "blanks" from the east. The loving 
care, honest pride and individual styles of these transient craftsmen 
produced a distinct art form, now falling victim to vandals, but 
some of them, at least, are preserved in this book. 

Tombstones offers a sampling of the history of diverse people 
and areas but carries, to me, just one message : regardless of char- 
acter or achievement, we all end up in the same place, earthwise, 
that is. 

Newcastle Elizabeth J. Thorpe 

Spanish War Vessels on tlie Mississippi, 1792 — 1796. By Abra- 
ham P. Nasatir. (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1968. 
369 pp. $10.00) 

From the Treaty of Paris in 1783 to the Treaty of San Lorenzo 
el Real (Pinckney's Treaty) in 1795, the Spanish authorities in the 
Mississippi River basin faced three threats to this outpost line of 
their North American empire: the British from Canada, the 
Americans from Kentucky, and the French Jacobins wherever they 
might be. Throughout this period Spain sought to defend her 


position by close control of navigation on the river and the friend- 
ship of the Southern Indians, by promoting secession of the western 
American territories, and by enticing western Americans to move 
into Spanish territory. 

By 1792 the Spanish governor, Baron de Carondelet, received 
permission to station a squadron of war vessels on the Mississippi 
River above New Orleans. The squadron consisted of eight vessels 
that ranged from galleys with crews of thirty-four men and mount- 
ing three cannon and eight swivel guns to a lancha canonera with a 
crew of eight and mounting a single cannon. Often the crew was 
supplemented by a detachment of soldiers from the Regiment of 
Louisiana, the only unit of regular Spanish troops in Louisiana. 
The vessels were propelled by sail, oar, pole, or tow rope. While 
none ever fired a shot in anger, the vessels served to show the flag 
along the thousand-mile frontier from New Orleans to Prairie du 
Chien. They helped maintain communications between the widely 
scattered settlements, checked on travelers on the river, kept con- 
tact with the friendly Indians and supported the building of Fort 
San Fernando de las Barrancas on American soil. When the 
Treaty of San Lorenzo el Real granted the right of free navigation 
to the Americans, there was no longer need for the squadron on the 
upper Mississippi River. 

Approximately one-third of this book is a narration of the opera- 
tions of the squadron and two-thirds consists of the diaries kept by 
various Spanish officials during trips up and down the river. The 
research on the Spanish side of the story is in great depth, mostly 
from documentary sources. On the non-Spanish side, the annota- 
tions are sketchy. Colonel John Montgomery is identified only as 
one of the most dangerous Kentucky expansionists. Who, for 
example, was Commander Grecg of Fort Massac on the Ohio 

This reviewer's major complaint is that this study has not been 
placed completely in the framework of continental power politics. 
Were the Spaniards justified in their reactions to rumor or were 
they Nervous Nellys? They were alarmed on learning that General 
Anthony Wayne was collecting 2,000 soldiers at Fort Pitt although 
his mission was to crush the Indians of Ohio, not the Spaniards of 
Louisiana. How real a threat was the Clark-Genet conspiracy? 
Another shortcoming is the absense of a map showing the location 
of towns and forts. The Spanish names are used throughout yet it 
is not until a footnote on page 158 that the town of Nogales is 
located in the Vicksburg neighborhood; nor are Chickasaw Bluffs 
located in the vicinity of Memphis until a note on page 281. 

Despite its shortcomings, this book is an important contribution 
to a phase of American frontier history that is all too often over- 
looked in favor of the American explorers and frontiersmen. 

Tucson Henry P. Walker 


A Picture Report of the Custer Fight. By William Reusswig. (New 
York: Hastings House Publishers, 1967. Illus. Index. 184 
pp. $8.50) 

Readers of this handsome volume should enjoy it; the unin- 
formed reader, since both the lively narrative and the attractive 
illustrations will hold his interest and acquaint him with a contro- 
versial episode in the history of the United States; the dilettante 
historian because it will give him the story of the Little Big Horn in 
seventeen easy lessons. Professional historians, dyed-in-the-wool 
Custer buffs and reviewers will enjoy it because it gives each a 
chance to peruse pages seeking discrepancies, errors, flaws and 
inaccuracies, thus exhibiting their own superior knowledge. Dis- 
crepancies, flaws and errors are inevitable in both the illustrations 
and the next, due to human frailty. 

No relationship is established between the illustrations and the 
narrative; the connection between the two is left solely to the 
reader's imagination or previous knowledge. The artist obviously 
has done sufficient study and research, which, coupled with his 
artistic talent and craftsmanship has enabled him to portray persons 
and events realistically and accurately, making them readily identi- 
fiable by the informed reader. 

Equipment and uniforms are frequently depicted inaccurately. 
Among the mistakes, one is amusing and one is surprising. The 
amusing error is the artist's indecision on the placement of the 
carbine. Pages 46, 64 and 89 show it on the right side of the horse, 
which is correct; however pages 56 and 100 show it on the left side. 
While the artist was apparently undecided, he was at least impar- 
tial. The surprising error is that all representations of the company 
guidon are incorrect. Those used in 1876 were the swallow-tailed 
stars and stripes type. According to General Godfrey, a lieutenant 
with Reno's column, stirrups were open, not hooded. The Gatling 
guns accompanying the Terry Column were the 1-inch, six-barrel 
and the .50-70 ten-barrel models with unenclosed barrels. Another 
mistake occurs in showing the hills adjacent and northeast of Ft. 
Philip Kearny as cliffs. Actually they are high rolling hills. 

Among inaccuracies in the text are the stating of conclusions or 
deductions as facts, e.g., "the nervous fingers of the white-faced 
dispatcher." On page 61, the author has Mark Kellogg riding 
"alongside Custer's prancing mare;" rather remarkable, considering 
that the two horses Custer had with the command June 25, 1876, 
were Vic, which Custer rode, and Dandy, which left with the pack 
train. Neither Vic nor Dandy was a mare. 

The movements of the five companies with Custer after leaving 
Medicine Trail Coulee, presented as facts, are debatable. No white 
person lived to relate Custer's movements after he left the Coulee. 
Indian accounts are of little value because they are confused and 
contradictory. In fact this lure of the unknown, this inability to 


factually answer the questions, "What did Custer do?" and "Why 
did he do it?" make this small battle one of the most controversial 
in the history of the nation. 

Inaccuracies, and errors diminish in importance when considered 
in relation to Mr. Reusswig's purpose. He has accomplished his 
goal of relating an oft-told tale in a different and interesting 

The artist and the publisher have produced an attractive book. 
The bibliography is good, the print clear and readable and the 
drawings, beautifully reproduced, reflect artistic craftsmanship and 
painstaking effort. There are (thank heavens) no footnotes. 

Torrington Willtam J. Shay 

Beet Sugar in the West. A History of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Com- 
pany, 1891-1966. By Leonard J. Arrington. (Seattle-Lon- 
don, University of Washington Press, 1966. Index, Ulus. 
234 pp. $7.50) 

The Rising Tide. Written by Richard F. Pourade. Commissioned 
by James S. Copley. (San Diego, Union-Tribune Publishing 
Co., 1967. Index. Illus. 267 pp. $9.50) 

Recent Bison Books, paperback reprints, Lincoln, University of 
Nebraska Press. 

The War on Powder River. By Helena Huntington Smith. 

Great Gunjighters of the Kansas Cowtowns, 1867-1886. By 
Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell. $1.95 

The Great Divide. Travels in the Upper Yellowstone in the 
Summer of 1874. Introduction by Marshall Sprague. 

The Commerce of the Prairies. By Josiah Gregg. Edited and 
with and Introduction by Milo Milton Quaife. $1.95 

American Indian Life. Edited by Elsie Clews Parsons. $2.95 


T. A. Larson. See Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 37, No. 1, page 
141. Dr. Larson's most recent book, Bill Nye's Western Humor, 
has been announced for June publication by the University of 
Nebraska Press. 

Robert L. Munkres has been an assistant professor of political 
science at Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, since 1960. 
Prior to that time he instructed in the University of Wisconsin 
Extension Division. He served as seasonal ranger-historian at 
Fort Laramie National Historic Site in 1956, 1957 and 1958. He 
earned his B. A., M. A., and Ph. D. degrees at the University of 
Nebraska. He is affiliated with numerous professional and his- 
torical associations. 

Robert A. Murray. See Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 36, No. 1, 
page 124. Recently Mr. Murray entered into private practice as a 
consultant on historical projects and historical properties. In addi- 
tion to his previous publications, he has a book scheduled for 
publication in June by the University of Nebraska Press entitled 
Military Posts in the Powder River Country of Wvoming 1865- 
1894. ' 

David B. Griffiths is a native of Seattle, and is professor of 
United States history at York University, Ontario, Canada. He is 
a graduate of the University of Washington, and also earned his 
Ph. D. from that university. His published studies include a 
political study in the Midwest Quarterly for October, 1965. 

James D. McLaird. See Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 39, No. 2, 
page 273. 

Mwls of Wyoming 



■ c-,B^.;b ! -3a 

Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 

'his red-painted, gilt-striped coffee mill, made by the "Enterprise M'F'G Co." of Philadelphia, 
'as used in the early 1900's. It is among the most recent acquisitions in the domestic and 
lercantile collections of the Wyoming State Museum at Cheyenne. 


October 1968 









Robert St. Clair 
Mrs. Wilmot McFadden 
Mrs. R. Dwight Wallace 
Miss Jennie Williams 
Richard I. Frost, Chairman 
Mrs. Virgil L. Thorpe 
Mrs. Frank Mockler 

Member at Large Mrs. Dudley Hayden 


Rock Springs 








Attorney General James E. Barrett Cheyenne 



Neal E. Miller Director 

Walter B. Nordell Administrative Assistant 

Mrs. Mary Purcella Secretary 

Mrs. Katherine Halverson Chief, Historical Research and 

Publications Division 

Mrs. Julia A. Yelvington Chief, Archives and Records Division 

Kermit M. Edmonds Chief, Museum Division 


The Annals of Wyoming is published semi-annually in April and October 
and is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society. 
Copies of current issues may be purchased for $2.00 each. Available copies 
of earlier issues are also for sale. A price list may be obtained by writing to 
the Editor. 

Communications should be addressed to the Editor. The Editor does 
not assume responsibility for statements of fact or of opinion made by 

Copyright, 1968, by the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department 

Mnals of Wyoming 

Volume 40 

October, 1968 

Number 2 

Neal E. Miller 

Katherine Halverson 
Associate Editor 

Published bianually by the 


Official Publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society 


OFFICERS 1968-1969 

President, Clrtiss Root Torrington 

First Vice President, Mrs. Hattie Burnstad Worland 

Second Vice President, J. Reuel Armstrong Rawlins 

Secretai-y-Treasurer, Miss Maurine Carley Cheyenne 

Executive Secretary, Neal E. Miller Cheyenne 

Past Presidents 

Frank L. Bowron, Casper 1953-1955 

William L. Marion, Lander 1955-1956 

Dr. DeWitt Dominick, Cody 1956-1957 

Dr. T. A. Larson, Laramie 1957-1958 

A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins 1958-1959 

Mrs. Thelma G. Condit, Buffalo 1959-1960 

E. A. Littleton, Gillette 1960-1961 

Edness Kimball Wilkins, Casper 1961-1962 

Charles Ritter, Cheyenne 1962-1963 

Neal E. Miller, Rawlins 1963-1965 

Mrs. Charles Hord, Casper 1965-1966 

Glenn Sweem, Sheridan 1966-1967 

Adrian Reynolds, Green River 1967-1968 

The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953. 
Membership is open to anyone interested in history. County Historical 
Society Chapters have been organized in Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, 
Carbon, Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Johnson, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, 
Park, Platte, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Teton, Washakie, Weston and Uinta 

State Dues: 

Life Membership $50.00 

Joint Life Membership (Husband and wife) 75.00 

Annual Membership 3.50 

Joint Annual Membership (Two persons of same family at 

same address) 5.00 

County dues are in addition to state dues and are set by county organ- 

Send State membership dues to: 

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ZabU of Contents 


1890 TO THE PRESENT 161 

By Peggy Dickey Kircus 


BEFORE 1860 193 

By Robert L. Munkres 




By Frank Tschirgi 


(Conclusion) 267 

A Traveler's Account edited by T. A. Larson 


Gressley, Bostonians and Bullion: The Journal of Robert 

Live/more, 1892-1915 283 

Andrews, The Splendid Pauper, The Story of Moreton Frewen 284 

Gould, Wyoming. A Political History, 1868-1896 286 

Larson, Bill Nye's Western Humor 287 

Hine, Bartletfs West: Drawing the Mexican Boundary 288 

Welsch, Sod Walls (The Story of the Nebraska Sod House) 290 

Donnelly, Wilderness Kingdom. The Journals and Paintings of 

Father Nicholas Point 291 

Bennett-Spring, Boom Town Boy 291 


INDEX 293 



Coffee Mill 

Following page 188 

"The Days That Are No More . . ." 
Cavalry Officer's Quarters, Fort D. A. Russell, 1868 
Headquarters, Fort D. A. Russell, 1868 
Quarters 92, Fort D. A. Russell, after 1885 

Following page 252 
Chimney Rock 
Court House Rock 
Scotts Bluff 
Atlantic City, Wyoming 

The map used as the background for the artifact on the 
cover is a copy of one published by the Clason Map Co., 
Denver. Although the original bears no date imprint, 
the twenty-one county map of Wyoming was published 
sometime between 1913 and 1922. In 1913 Goshen, 
Hot Springs, Lincoln, Niobrara and Platte Counties were 
organized. Teton County, organized in 1922, and Sub- 
lette County, organized in 1923, do not appear on this 
map. Other maps, of varying dates, will be used from 
time to time on the covers of the Annals of Wyoming. 

fort 'David J. KusselU a Study of 
Jts Mis tor y from 1867 to 1890 



Peggy Dickey Kircus 


No phase of American history holds more excitement and ro- 
mance than the conquering of the West. Tales of cavalrymen 
rescuing settlers from treacherous Indians have for decades pro- 
vided thrilling entertainment. But no fictitious story could be any 
more colorful than a study of the actual conflict which raged 
between the Plains Indians and the United States Army at the 
western border of our civilization. 

Few frontier army posts have had such a prominent and lasting 
place in the history of the West as Fort David A. Russell, Wyoming. 
A study of this post gives an historical outline of the entire area, as 
troops from Fort Russell took part in almost every important 
engagement with the Indians of this area. They also aided civilian 
authorities in maintaining order when requested to do so. As the 
Indian problem became less important, the fort continued to serve 
the nation as a troop supply camp during the war with Spain and 
World War I and as a demobilization center afterward. 

Fort D. A. Russell was founded in early July, 1867. Its main 
function originally was to protect workers on the Union Pacific 
Railroad from Indian attack. To understand better the reasons for 
the establishment of the post, it is necessary to look back as far as 
1803 to the purchase by the United States of the Louisiana Terri- 
tory. In this transaction, France, for the sum of $15,000,000 
ceded to the United States a vast area of land bounded on the east 
by the Mississippi River and on the west by a line vaguely along 
the Rocky Mountains. Contained in this acquisition was the land 
later to become the reservation of Fort D. A. Russell. 

President Thomas Jefferson, who was keenly interested in the 
resources of the new territory, appointed Meriwether Lewis and 
William Clark to lead an exploring party through the region. They 
traveled up the Missouri River, across the Rocky Mountains, and 
eventually to the Pacific Ocean. Their careful records provided 


valuable information about geography, plant and animal life, and 
inhabitants of the country. 

Lewis and Clark reported rivers teeming with beaver and fur- 
bearing animals. These accounts stimulated the adventuresome to 
enter the new American purchase in search of these magnificent 
furs. One of the most enterprising of these speculators was John 
Jacob A:-tor who had a grandiose scheme of founding a chain of 
forts from the interior to the Pacific Ocean with headquarters 
located at the south of the Columbia River. He sent a party over- 
land to explore and help set up the post on the Pacific coast. The 
group took a new route over the plains through what is now Wyo- 
ming. Although Astor never realized his dream of empire, he was 
instrumental in the exploration of the unknown territory. 1 

Soon large numbers of trappers, mountain men as they were 
often called, began exploring the wilderness in search of beaver 
pelts. By 1830, these trappers and the traders who dealt with them 
had discovered new routes to the west coast. They had mapped 
the Oregon and California Trails and had popularized the West. 
They had also introduced the white man's guns, whiskey, and 
diseases among the western Indian tribes. The government was 
now faced with the problem of protecting the white man from 
Indians who saw their ancestral lands being invaded. 

As stories about the rich lands in Oregon and California cir- 
culated and grew, settlers began to travel west in search of a better 
life. During the 1840's, many trains of Conestoga wagons began 
the journey. Fertile valleys awaited those who survived the heat 
and dust of the plains, the bitter cold of the mountains, and the 
deadly drought of the deserts. Gold fever attracted yet others in 
1849 "and the 1850's. 

As pioneers settled the far west, they began talking of a trans- 
continental railroad for improved communications and transporta- 
tion to the east. In 1845, Asa Whitney, a New England merchant, 
suggested to Congress that a railroad be built to the Pacific Ocean, 
pointing out that it could be financed by a system of land grants. 
Much of the route which he advocated was through unsettled 
territory, and this land was of little value without the railroad. 2 
Since railroad building was such an expensive and hazardous un- 
dertaking, government subsidies were necessary to induce investors 
to underwrite construction. 

With Texas joining the Union in 1845, the settling of the Oregon 
boundary dispute in 1846, and the completion of the Mexican 
Cession in 1848, the nation's territorial boundaries were secured 

1. Dictionary of American Biography, ed. Dumas Malone (New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936), I, 397-98. 

2. Ibid., XX, 156-57. 


from ocean to ocean. Now had come the time for increased inter- 
ior development and expansion. 

Under increasing pressure for a transcontinental railroad, Con- 
gress, in 1853, provided for a survey of possible routes along which 
such a track might be laid. Under the direction of the Secretary of 
War, five routes were surveyed. 3 As a result of this study one fact 
was clear: there were many practical railroad routes to the west 
coast. The question in Congress was not whether a transcontinen- 
tal railroad should be built, but along which route it should be built. 
New England senators favored the northernmost route, between the 
47th and 49th parallels; southerners favored a route along the 32nd 
parallel; and representatives of the middle west wanted it along the 
central route of the 41st and 42nd parallels. Sectionalism pre- 
vented any constructive legislation until the southern states seceded 
and lost their representation. Congress then chose the central 
route and passed the Railroad Act of 1862. 4 

This measure, passed July 1, 1862, chartered the Union Pacific 
Railroad Company. Large subsidies of land and money were 
promised, including: 

every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, to 
the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of said rail- 
road, on the line thereof, and within the limits of ten miles on each 
side of said road. 5 

In addition, the government agreed to pay monetary subsidies to 
the builders at the rate of $16,000 per mile to a point at "the 
eastern base of the Rocky Mountains." From this point westward, 
payment was to be at the rate of $48,000 per mile to aid in the 
more difficult mountain construction. 6 

In return for these subsidies, the measure guaranteed that the 

shall keep said railroad and telegraph line in repair and use, and shall 
at all times transmit despatches over said telegraph line, and transport 
mails, troops, and munitions of war, supplies, and public stores upon 
said railroad for the government . . . and that the government shall at 
all times have the preference in the use of the same. 7 

The charter also prescribed the route which the railroad was to 
follow. A single clause practically predetermined the sites of the 
city of Cheyenne and of Fort D. A. Russell five years before the 
actual sites were selected. According to the Act, the President was 

3. U.S., Congress, Senate, Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascer- 
tain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the 
Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, 1853-4, 33d Cong., 2d Sess., 1855. 

4. Railroad Act of 1862, in U.S., Statutes at Large, XII, 489-498. 

5. Ibid., p. 492. 

6. Ibid., pp. 492-95. 

7. Ibid., p. 493. 


to fix the point of the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. This 
was to be the point of division between the plains and the moun- 
tainous terrain. A town and military post were to be located here. 

General Grenville M. Dodge resigned from the Army at the close 
of the Civil War to become chief engineer for the Union Pacific 
Railroad. Due to his military background and the necessity for 
protecting workers from the hostile Indians, the railroad construc- 
tion took on a military character. Army posts and cavalry escorts 
consistently accompanied the construction crews. 

President Lincoln located the eastern terminus of the Union 
Pacific at Omaha, Nebraska. Construction proceeded slowly until 
the end of the Civil War, when the nation was once again free to 
turn its attention toward the frontier. By early summer, 1867, the 
track was complete to Juiesburg, Colorado Territory. On June 
28th, General Dodge left Juiesburg with Mr. Blickensderfer whom 
the President had authorized to determine the "eastern base of the 
Rocky Mountains." Also in the party were General John A. Raw- 
lins, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and a number of 
Union Pacific officials. 8 After leaving Juiesburg, General Dodge 
reports that they 

went to the end of the track, which was then at North Platte, and from 
there we marched immediately up the Platte, then up the Lodge Pole 
to the east base of the Black Hills, where we were joined by General 
C. C. Augur, who was then in command of that department, with his 

After a thorough examination of the country, the railroad divi- 
sion point was located on Crow Creek, 525.78 miles west of 
Omaha. On July 4, 1867, General Dodge pitched camp in the 
Crow Creek Valley, where he selected and named the site of 
Cheyenne. 10 

General Augur, Commander of the Department of the Platte, 
having been instructed to locate a military post at the railroad 
division point, began organizing it just north of Cheyenne. The 
day ended with a rousingly patriotic Fourth of July speech by 
General Rawlins, after which everyone celebrated. 11 

8. U.S., Congress, House, General Dodge's Report, Ex. Doc. No. 331, 
40th Cong., 2d Sess., July 10, 1868, p. 3. 

9. U.S., Congress, Senate, "Report by Grenville M. Dodge," How We 
Built the Union Pacific Railway, Doc. No. 447, 61st Cong., 2d Sess., 1919, 
p. 19. 

10. General Dodge's Report, op. cit., p. 3; and Jane R. Kendall, "History 
of Fort Francis E. Warren," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January, 
1946), 7. 

11. How We Built the Union Pacific Railway, op. cit., p. 19. 



In mid-July, 1867 Brevet 1 Brigadier General T. D. Stevenson, 
Colonel, Thirtieth United States Infantry, received orders to leave 
his camp on Larrens Fork of the North Platte River. With Com- 
panies B, K, and G of the Thirtieth United States Infantry, he pro- 
ceeded to a point one-half mile above the present site of Cheyenne 
where he met General Augur, a detachment of Company H, Second 
Cavalry, and a camp of railroad engineers. They moved the camp 
August 1 6th to the permanent site of Fort Russell, three miles west 
of Cheyenne. 

The new post announced as Fort David A. Russell on September 
8, 1867. It was named in honor of Major David A. Russell, Eighth 
Infantry, Brigadier General, United States Volunteers, Brevet Ma- 
jor General, United States Army, who was killed at the battle of 
Opequan, Virginia, on September 19, 1864. 2 

During September, 1867, workers erected temporary log huts 
for the enlisted men, while the officers continued to live in tents. 
Construction began on the first permanent company quarters in 
October, and by the end of the year all the enlisted men were in 
barracks. They completed the officers' quarters in February of 
the following year. The first permanent hospital was also com- 
pleted in February, 1868. 3 

On June 28, 1869, President Grant set aside a reservation for 
the post, the grounds forming a parallelogram two miles east and 
west by three miles north and south and containing 3,840 acres. 
Additional land acquisitions were later added. 4 

One of the first complete records from early Fort Russell which 
has been preserved is a report prepared by the Post Surgeon, Dr. 
C. A. Alden, for the Surgeon General. His contribution to the 
Report on Barracks and Hospitals, dated December, 1870, con- 
tains a full description of regional land forms, flora and fauna, and 
weather conditions, as well as his statements on the conditions of 
buildings at the post. According to Surgeon Alden, the reservation 
was about equally divided by Crow Creek, a small and tortuous 

1. The brevet rank was conferred by the Senate for meritorious service of 
heroism. It entitled an officer to wear the insignia and bear the title of his 
highest breveted rank while serving in temporary position but barred him 
from permanent command and pay of such rank. S. E. Whitman, The 
Troopers (New York: Hastings House, 1962), pp. 122-23. 

2. U.S., War Department, Quartermaster-General's Office, Outline De- 
scription of Military Posts and Reservations in the United States and Alaska 
and of National Cemeteries (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1904), p. 118; and U.S., War Department, Surgeon General's Office, "Fort 
D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," Manuscript in the 
National Archives, Microfilm Copy in the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department (4 Vols.), I, 3-4. 

3. "Fort D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," op. cit., I, 3. 

4. Outline Description of Military Posts, op. cit., p. 117. 


stream which crossed it from northwest to southeast. At both sides 
of the stream were bluffs from thirty to fifty feet high. North of 
the stream was a large, level plateau, about a mile wide, beyond 
which the land was broken. South of the creek, the country 
changed into low hills for some distance. 

The soil in the vicinity of the post was alluvial for from one to 
three feet in depth. Below this was a bed of coarse gravel several 
feet in thickness sometimes cropping out to the surface. Next 
below was a layer of stiff clay mixed with sand. This mixture was 
so hard as to be almost of the consistency of sandstone. Stratifica- 
tion was visible on the faces of the bluffs along Crow Creek. 5 

As for vegetation Dr. Alden reported : 

The soil on the prairies is barren, nor can the bottom lands be 
cultivated except by the aid of irrigation. The plains and hills are 
covered with a low stunted scanty grass. Along the creek a few low 
willows and wild currant bushes grow. In summer the desolate 
prairies and bottoms are made brilliant for a short time by a profusion 
of wild flowers; rich however rather in number than variety. . . . The 
only edible wild plants known are the wild onion, lambs quarters, and 
wild currants.' 5 

The region abounded in wild animals. Among the most com- 
mon were the coyote, prairie dog, and striped gopher. Rattlesnakes 
were seen occasionally. Skeletal remains of buffalo testified to 
their having been there only a few years earlier. Other animals 
sometimes seen were the antelope, deer, gray wolf, fox, skunk, 
badger, beaver, jackrabbit, and cottontail rabbit. Birds were prev- 
alent. Game birds included the prairie chicken, sage cock, mallard 
hen, green-winged teal, and killdeer. 7 

The climate at the post was typical of that along the foothills of 
the Rocky Mountains. The mean annual temperature was 45°, 
with average precipitation of 13.1 inches, much of this being in the 
form of snow. The prevailing wind was from the northwest at all 
times of the year, blowing with most severity during the spring 
and fall. 8 

An interesting comment on the weather and landscape of the 
region was provided by Reverend Joseph Cook, an Episcopal mis- 
sionary to the village of Cheyenne, who in 1868 wrote to a friend: 

I am charmed with the climate here. With the exception of those 

5. "Fort D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," op. cit., 
I, 15; and U.S., War Department, Surgeon General's Office, A Report on 
Barracks and Hospitals, Circular No. 4 (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1870), pp. 340-41. 

6. A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., p. 341. 

7. Ibid. 

8. U.S., Department of Agriculture, Weather Bulletin, Bulletin Q, Clima- 
tology of the United States, ed. Alfred Judson Henry (Washington: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1906), p. 856. 


searching winds which go to the very bone, it is delightful. Today is 
one of the most beautiful days I ever saw. The place is not protected 
from the winds as we supposed. Long's Peak, 70 or 80 miles distant, 
is in sight, and the rocky range glittering white with snow in the clear 
sunshine. We seem to be still on the plains, although at a very high 
elevation. . . . There is not to be seen a single tree within many miles 
of us. 9 

Elizabeth Burt also made note of the lack of vegetation when she 
was there with her soldier husband in the winter of 1868: 

Frame quarters for a regiment had sprung up as it were, into a small 
village but the surroundings were destitute of any green to relieve the 
eye and wind, constantly sweeping the parade ground bare, drove the 
garrison almost to despair with its monotony. They longed for the 
quiet of some sheltered eastern post. 10 

A tree in the vicinity of the post was indeed a rare sight. To 
remedy the situation, work details, in 1870, planted cottonwood 
and pine trees around the parade ground and other areas of the 
post. 11 

When General Stevenson arrived at the site which was to become 
the reservation of Fort David A. Russell and became the com- 
mander of the troops located there, he immediately drew up plans 
for the new post, with Surgeon Alden assisting him. Instead of the 
rectangular or square design common in frontier outposts, the 
buildings were arranged around a diamond-shaped parade ground, 
which measured 1040 feet long by 800 feet wide. The long axis 
of this parade ground ran almost due north and south, with a 
variation of 15° 30' East. General Stevenson adopted this unusual 
arrangement for functional purposes as well as unique appearance. 
Since the post was to be built for a capacity of twelve full com- 
panies, "the special object of the plan," Surgeon Alden reports, 
"was to group the many buildings so as to bring them within a 
convenient distance of each other and yet not crowd them and cut 
off in any way the access of light and air." 12 

The plan also differed in another aspect. They built no stockade 
around the post. As there were no unfriendly Indians in the imme- 
diate vicinity, none was considered necessary. 13 

All the original structures on the post were of wood. Fourteen 
sets of officers' quarters faced the upper two sides of the parade 
ground. These were placed seven on each side, arranged like the 
two legs of an inverted "V". The quarters of the commanding 

9. Joseph W. Cook, Diary and Letters, ed. N. S. Thomas (Laramie, Wyo- 
ming: The Laramie Republican Co., 1919), pp. 13-14. 

10. Merrill J. Mattes, Indians, Infants, and Infantry (Denver: The Old 
West Publishing Co., 1960), pp. 175-76. 

11. A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., p. 141. 

12. "Fort D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," op. cit., 
I, 16. 

13. Ibid., I, 15. 


officer formed the apex of the angle. The troop barracks formed 
the remaining two sides of the diamond. These were twelve in 
number, six on each side, with the guard house forming the lower 
point of junction. The quarters of the officer of the guard, a 
hexagonal, tower-like structure, stood in front of the guard house. 
It contained a room for the officer of the guard below and a sen- 
tinel station above. Structures located off the parade included the 
hospital, surgeon's quarters, an officers' mess, the post trader's 
store, and quartermaster and commissary facilities. 14 

Dr. Alden wrote detailed descriptions of these buildings in the 
post monthly medical record and in his report to the Surgeon 
General in 1870. According to these documents, the quarters 
along the parade were double houses for company officers. They 
were designed to house the captain on one side and two lieutenants 
on the other. The buildings to each side of the commander's resi- 
dence housed field grade officers, the adjutant officer, and the post 
chaplain. Each set of company officers' quarters was assigned in 
conjunction with a company barrack. The officer living closest to 
the commander had his company in the nearest barracks, and the 
next officer had his men in the next, so that the quarters of each 
officer was about equidistant from that of his men. The officers' 
quarters were officially described as 

built of rough one inch boards placed upright with the cracks battened, 
the mode adopted for almost all the buildings at the post. They are a 
story and a half with porch in front, dormer windows, brick chimneys 
and shingle roofs. The quarters are finished within with planed boards 
and battens or matched flooring instead of plaster. Behind each 
officers house is a one story building with four rooms giving a kitchen 
and dining room to each set. 15 

There were no special arrangements in the buildings for heating, 
lighting, ventilation, water supply, or bathroom facilities. In 1869, 
civilians contracted to line the walls of these quarters with sheath- 
ing paper and paper them. This added greatly to the comfort and 
appearance of the houses. After a hard snowstorm the next winter, 
however, the snow drifted up against the houses and blew under the 
eaves and shingles of the roofs, causing water to drip from the 
ceilings. A detail of soldiers prevented excess damage by shoveling 
away wagonfuls of snow. 16 

The post surgeon and his assistant had similar accommodations. 
The quartermaster had a single set of quarters. The commanding 
officer's quarters was of similar materials, but it was two stories 

14. A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., p. 341. 

15. "Fort D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," op. cit., 
I, 17. 

16. Mattes, op. cit., p. 179. 


high, had four large rooms and a hall on each floor, and had a 
kitchen and servants quarters in the rear. 

The company barracks were designed to accommodate eighty 
men each. They were constructed of rough boards placed upright 
with the cracks battened. Each barrack was eighty feet long by 
thirty feet wide with a porch eleven feet wide along the front. The 
buildings did not face the parade directly but were arranged en 
echelon to allow better access to light and air. Having a brick 
chimney in the center, each building was heated by three stoves. 
Light was allowed access through three windows in front, two at 
each end, and six in the rear. Adequate ventilation, often more 
than adequate, came into the barracks between the boards, even 
though adobe lining was placed inside up to the roof line. 

The men slept on bed-sacks filled with hay, which were arranged 
on two-story wooden bunks, each bunk holding four men. A water 
closet was situated about seventy-five feet behind each barrack. 
The company kitchen and mess stood at the south end of each 
barrack. Food was cooked on large stoves with cauldrons and 
served to the men in an adjoining mess hall. 17 

The guard house, which measured forty by forty feet, was con- 
structed of the same materials as the other buildings. Two stoves 
provided heat, and windows on each side furnished light and 

In addition to the buildings which enclosed the parade were a 
number of other structures which served varied purposes. The 
commissary and quartermaster storehouses were two long wooden 
buildings with floor space measuring about twenty-five by one 
hundred feet. The bake house, located between the storehouses, 
had facilities for the preparation of six hundred rations. The post 
stables, eight in number, were built along Crow Creek, a row of 
stables on each bank of the stream. 18 

The post hospital, located in the northeast corner of the post, 
was constructed along a design furnished by the Surgeon General's 
Office in a circular of 1867. It consisted of a main building, with 
a wing on each side to be used as wards, and a kitchen in the rear. 
Materials were basically the same as those used in the construction 
of the officers' and men's quarters. Most of the walls were covered 
with tarred sheathing paper and papered. The post surgeon com- 
plained that this lining "does not make the building as warm as 
plaster would, but it is preferable, as buildings here are so much 
shaken by the wind that plaster is constantly liable to fall off." 19 
By 1870 the structure had deteriorated to the point that Dr. Alden 

17. A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., pp. 341-42. 

18. Ibid., pp. 342-43. 

19. Ibid., p. 343. 


The hospital is convenient, and would be comfortable were it not that 
the shingles on the roof have warped so that the snow blows in to some 
extent in winter. The battens also have warped, so that on the exposed 
side of the building the snow finds its way through the cracks. 20 

The hospital contained accommodations for twenty-four beds in 
each of the two wards. In practice, however, only the east ward 
was occupied by patients, as the other was too difficult to heat 
properly. Wood stoves warmed, and kerosene lamps lighted the 
rooms. The west ward was used as a ballroom, theater, school, 
and chapel.- 1 

Sanitary facilities were primitive. A small room at the end of 
the ward was fitted with a bathtub and lavatory, but Dr. Alden 
states that 

the sink for attendants and convalescents is about 85 feet in the rear 
of the east ward. For the sick in bed two night chairs are provided, 
usually kept in the bath-room, each deposit being covered as soon as 
made with dry earth to disinfect and deodorize it. 22 

Immediately to the back of the hospital kitchen stood the dead 
house, a small wooden building twelve by eighteen feet, which was 
used for performing post mortems and preparing bodies for burial. 
West of the dead house were pens for cows, chickens, and pigs. 
The animals which were kept here provided what fresh milk, eggs, 
and pork the patients had to eat. 23 

The married enlisted men built their quarters west of the post 
along Crow Creek. Since pay was so poor for enlisted soldiers, it 
became customary for their wives to supplement the family income 
by doing laundry for the men at the post. To aid the laundresses 
in their work, quarters were built at the edge of the stream. These 
families lived in huts roughly built of logs placed on end with only 
the roof battened. They usually built two huts side by side for each 
family, one being used for living space, the other as a wash room. 
Squalid living conditions in these buildings caused the post surgeon 
to request better quarters, but the scarcity of lumber prevented their 
being improved immediately. 24 

Civilian laborers did much of the construction work on these 
original buildings, but some of the more arduous tasks, especially 
on the company barracks, were done by daily details of troops. 
General Stevenson commanded the post all during the erection of 
these buildings, with seven companies of the Thirtieth Infantry, 

20. Ibid. 

21. "Fort D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," op. at., 
I, 189. 

22. A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., p. 343. 

23. "Fort D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," op. cit., 

24. Ibid., I, 17-18; and A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., 
p. 342. 


four companies of the Second Cavalry and the Fort Russell Post 
Band present most of this time. 25 

Nature was kind to southeastern Wyoming in providing breath- 
taking scenery, year-round sunshine, and abundant moisture during 
winter and spring. However, the high winds which were present at 
all times of the year and the bitter cold which came with winter 
caused hardship for the men stationed there. In the summer 
months, wells dried up and the smaller watering streams disap- 
peared. The wind was blamed for fanning flames of fires which 
endangered the entire post. In winter, the sub-zero cold caused 
continual problems and discomfort. 

One of the first projects undertaken at Fort Russell was the 
digging of water wells. It was presumed that these would provide 
a convenient and adequate water suppiy. As summer approached, 
however, most of the wells dried up, and other means of supply 
were required. Wells at the residence of the commanding officer 
and at the hospital continued to function adequately. The remain- 
der of the garrison began using water from Crow Creek. A steam 
pump, installed at the stream west of the post, forced water up into 
a wooden tank at the edge of the creek. From this they filled a 
water wagon and regularly delivered water to the quarters and 
barracks areas, where they emptied it into barrels. Water was also 
diverted from the creek into ditches around the parade ground, 
thus irrigating the trees which had been planted there. 26 

Dr. Alden tested both the well water and that from Crow Creek 
for purity and found both sources almost free of both solid and 
organic matter. He described it as "colorless, tasteless, and free 
from odor." 2T 

The post water wagon, in addition to delivering the daily water 
supply, was the heart of the fire-fighting system of the garrison. 
The wagon was at all times kept filled and ready to haul water to 
any point where it was needed. A special force pump attached to 
the wagon aided the fire fighters. In addition to the water wagon, 
special crews kept a number of buckets filled in the barracks, 
storehouses, and hospital. Each building also had one or more 
ladders ready for use. 28 

Soon after the establishment of Fort Russell and of Cheyenne, 
Generals Dodge and Stevenson devised a plan for a joint water 
supply for the post and the town. On February 19, 1868, the 
Cheyenne Leader published an account of the visit to Fort Russell 

25 r These were Companies B, D, F, G, H, I, and K, Thirtieth Infantry, 
and Companies E, H, I, and K, Second Cavalry. "Fort D. A. Russell: Rec- 
ord of Medical History of Post," op. cit., I, 4. 

26. A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., p. 343. 

27. Ibid. 

28. Ibid., pp. 343-44. 


of a representative of the city of Cheyenne. According to this 
report, the post commander and General Dodge decided 

to bring the waters of Pole Creek and Crow Creek by means of a canal 
through the military reservation north of the city and thence through 
the town site. It was and is understood by and between those gentle- 
men that the Union Pacific Railroad Company is to perform all the 
necessary surveying and engineering on the line of the canal, and that 
the military will construct and complete it to the south line of the 
reservation, and then the water can be readily diverted to any part of 
the city that may be desired. 29 

Surveys were completed and the ditch was dug as far as the post. 
The water was never diverted into Cheyenne as expected. In 
1883, the city laid a pipe into the reservoir which supplied the post. 
This made the ditch useless and deprived the fort of irrigation 
water. The following year, Fort Russell entered into an agreement 
with the officials of Cheyenne whereby the city was to furnish 
water to the post in return for the right-of-way for pipeline equip- 
ment. 30 

In 1889, officials let a contract for a complete water system for 
the post. By this new system, water was obtained from five 
artesian wells and one filter well. Steam boilers powered two large 
pumps at the wells. 31 

Another problem which plagued the post was a series of fires 
which caused heavy losses in animals and equipment. As the 
garrison of Fort D. A. Russell sat down to breakfast on the morning 
of April 24, 1868, a sentry guarding the stables of Company I, 
Second Cavalry, noticed smoke issuing from the stable. Upon 
closer examination he found the smoke to be coming from a room 
in the building which housed the quartermaster's sergeant. The 
sentry called an orderly, who immediately opened the door of the 
room to locate the cause of the fire. As he did so, flames and 
smoke poured into the stable with such force and heat that he was 
unable to close the door. The feeding troughs had been filled 
shortly before the fire broke out, and once the flames reached the 
hay it took only seconds for them to sweep the entire length of the 

The sentry fired his weapon several times as an alarm to the rest 
of the garrison, but by the time others reached the scene, the build- 
ing was enveloped in flames. 

Sixty-nine prize horses were inside the stable, and so quickly did 
it burn that only four could be rescued. One of the animals was 
the private property of an officer. The remaining sixty-four were 

29. Cheyenne Leader, February 19, 1868, p. 4. 

30. Jane R. Kendall, "History of Fort Francis E. Warren," Annals of 
Wyoming, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January, 1946), p. 37. 

31. Outline Description of Military Posts, op. cit., p. 119. 


government horses which had been specially selected and trained 
for use on the plains. Most had become well acclimated through 
years of service in the area. One of them had been with the Second 
Regiment for six years. The contract price of most of the animals 
had been $165, which amounted to a loss to the government of 
about $10,725. 

The fire also destroyed riding equipment for seventy mounts. 
These saddles, bridles, and other furnishings were valued at $30 
each. This loss, along with the horses and feed destroyed, amount- 
ed to a total of at least $15,000 in government property. 

There was some apprehension that the flames might spread to 
the stables on each side of the fire, so the horses were removed from 
them. These buildings escaped the blaze, however, probably be- 
cause they were wet from falling snow and rain. 3 - 

Another destructive fire occurred February 6, 1871. This time 
it was in the barracks occupied by Company B, Fourteenth Infan- 
try, their company kitchen, and the kitchen of the next barracks. 
The cause of the fire was never discovered. It started during the 
night while the men were asleep. The flames spread so quickly 
throughout the wooden structure that the soldiers barely escaped 
with their lives. Loss to the government was estimated at $10,000. 
In addition, the men lost virtually all of their clothing and val- 
uables. 88 

On January 4, 1875, still another fire raged at the fort. Medical 
records list the cause as "stove pipes being too close to the wall." 34 
According to the report, the blaze began at 4 A.M. in the quarters 
of Lieutenant Pardees of the Twenty-third Infantry. Because of 
very strong winds and lack of water to fight the blaze, it burned 
down six officer's quarters before it could be controlled. One man 
perished in the fire: Private Myers of the Third Cavalry. His body 
was so charred that only a few of his bones could be recovered. 
A sergeant from the same unit was badly burned about the hands 
and face while attempting to remove valuables from one of the 

The conflagration lasted for four hours before being brought 
under control. All the officers reported heavy property loss, and a 
number of enlisted men burned their uniforms beyond use while 
fighting the blaze. 

The post surgeon also noted that this day, January 4th, was the 
coldest in almost a year. The temperature was reported to be 17° 

32. Cheyenne Leader, April 24, 1868, p. 4. 

33. U.S., Congress, House, Letter from the Secretary of War Relative to 
the Destruction of Clothing of Soldiers of Company B, Fourteenth Infantry, 
Ex. Doc. No. 187, 42d Cong., 2d Sess., 1872. 

34. "Fort D. A. Russell: Record of Medical History of Post," op. cit., 
II, 190. 


below zero at 4 A.M., when the fire broke out. Some fifteen 
officers and men were frostbitten while fighting the fire. 35 

None of the buildings which were constructed in 1867 remain 
standing today. By the early 1 880's, the old frame structures had 
become dilapidated due to wind, snow, and fire. In his annual 
report of 1884 to the Quartermaster General, Lieutenant James 
Regan stated: 

Two of the companies now forming a part of the garrison of the post 
occupy old buildings, which were constructed when the post was first 
established in 1867, and have been but slightly repaired since that time. 
Additions have been made to them, flooring renewed in part, new 
chimneys built, etc., but they are in such a dilapidated condition it 
wouid be a waste of time and material to make any more repairs on 
them — new buildings ought to be built. 8 '' 

The Quartermaster General recognized the importance of Fort 
Russell. In a message to the Secretary of War, the general asserted 

by reason of location of the post that it is admirably adapted to the 
concentration and garrisoning of troops with a view to their econom- 
ical distribution and convenient service in the Department of the 
Platte. 87 

He added that other military officials thought Fort Russell should 
be held permanently, and that 

barracks of stone or brick for six companies should be erected, so as to 
quarter troops which will otherwise soon be roofless by the decay of 
the temporary quarters which have heretofore been their homes. 38 

Congressional appropriations during 1884, 1886, and 1887 pro- 
vided substantial sums for the rebuilding and repair of Fort Russell. 
Large brick barracks, quarters, and other structures replaced most 
of the time-worn frame buildings which had been hastily con- 
structed in 1867. A few of the better ones were rehabilitated for 
a few years of additional use. 80 

35. Ibid., II, 190-91. 

36. U.S., War Department, Quartermaster General's Office, Letter from 
James Regan to the Quartermaster General Dated April 26, 1884, "Quarter- 
master Letter Books for Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming"; Copy of Letter in 
Jane R. Kendall, Unpublished Notes in the Wyoming State Archives, File 
No. HCL 2:1:4. 

37. U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Appropriations, Letter from 
the Secretary of War, Transmitting Plans and Estimates for the Construction 
and Repair of Buildings at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, Ex. Doc. No. 65, 
47th Cong., 2d Sess., 1883, pp. 3-4. 

38. Ibid. 

39. Wyoming State Tribune-Leader, April 8, 1936. 



While the spirited building program went on at Fort D. A. Rus- 
sell, similar work took place about one and one-half miles east of 
the post. In August, 1867, the Quartermaster Corps established 
a quartermaster and commissary depot which was to serve army 
posts throughout the West. From the very first there was a mis- 
understanding, even in government publications, about the name of 
the depot. Brevet Lieutenant Colonel E. B. Carling was in charge 
of the planning and construction of the site, and the depot came to 
be called Camp Carling or, as it was sometimes misspelled, Camp 
Carlin. There seem to be no records to indicate that either of these 
names was official, but the latter spelling, Carlin, was used most 
often. 1 In 1871, the War Department gave it the official title of 
Cheyenne Depot. - 

The camp was so situated that it could be connected with the 
Union Pacific rail lines, thus allowing easier transport of goods 
from the east to the depot. On November 23, 1867, crews began 
construction of the roadbed for a railroad siding. On December 
1 Oth, they laid the track connecting the camp with the main line of 
the Union Pacific Railroad.' 1 The warehouses were built along 
each side of the tracks, so that supplies could be readily unloaded 
on the platforms. 

Cheyenne Depot was the second largest commissary depot in the 
United States Army and was something of a marvel to those fron- 
tiersmen who came to see it. In addition to barracks, the build- 
ings included sixteen large warehouses; shops for carpenters, wheel- 
rights, blacksmiths, and saddlers; sales stores; cook and bunk 
houses; wagon sheds; stables; and corrals. There were also deep 
cellars used to store vegetables which might be damaged by 
extreme cold. 4 

The depot supplied twelve army posts, some as distant as 400 
miles. Although commanded by army personnel, it employed 
about 500 civilians: teamsters, packers, artisans, and laborers. 
Operating out of the camp were as many as 100 freight wagons 
and five pack trains, with some 1,000 mules corralled there. 5 The 

1. An historical plaque which presently marks the site reads "Camp 

2. Herbert M. Hart, Old Forts of the Northwest (Seattle: Superior Pub- 
lishing Co., 1963), p. 110. 

3. The Cheyenne Leader, December 10, 1867, p. 1. 

4. Agnes Wright Spring, The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Ex- 
press Routes (Glendale, Calif.: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1949), p. 97; and 
Jane R. Kendall, "History of Fort Francis E. Warren," Annals of Wyoming, 
Vol. 18, No. 1 (January, 1946). 11. 

5. Frances Birkhead Beard, ed., Wyoming: From Territorial Days to the 
Present (Chicago: The American Historical Society, Inc., 1933), I, 173. 


pay for teamsters working out of Cheyenne Depot was $35 a 
month. The quartermaster chief clerk made $150 per month. 1 ' 

Fort D. A. Russell and the quartermaster depot were under 
separate commands and performed different missions, but there 
was, because of their proximity, frequent intercourse between the 
two stations. There was no hospital at the depot, so those requiring 
medical care used the facilities at the post. Social affairs drew the 
citizens of the stations together. Dances and athletic events livened 
the pace of daily life and, as Cheyenne Depot was located about 
halfway between Fort D. A. Russell and Cheyenne, it was a con- 
venient resting place for those who were traveling to and from 

Fire prevention was very important in a place where such val- 
uable equipment and goods were stored. Early in its history the 
men at the depot organized a fire fighting unit called the "Gillis 
Hose Company," in honor of Captain Gillis, the chief quarter- 
master. The government provided them with a fire engine and 
the people in Cheyenne, as well as the troops at Fort Russell, 
always looked to this unit for aid when fires broke out. 7 

Toward the end of the 1880's as the need for military equipment 
for Indian fighting expeditions lessened, Cheyenne Depot shrank in 
size and importance. Finally in 1890 the camp was dismantled 
and left to decay. s 

Just one and one-half miles southeast of Cheyenne Depot and 
three miles from Fort D. A. Russell a more permanent establish- 
ment was founded. On July 4, 1 867, General Dodge pitched camp 
in the Crow Creek Valley and selected the site of a new town. He 
named it Cheyenne after the warlike Indians of the region, hoping 
to mollify them by doing so.'-' 

Railroad officials surveyed the townsite throughout the remain- 
der of July and offered property for sale. Under the edict of the 
Congressional act which chartered the Union Pacific Railroad in 
1862, this land was the property of the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company, and profits gained through the sale of such land were to 
help defray the expense of building the road. The town as laid out 
occupied four sections of land. 

Speculation for lots ran high for a time. The company sold them 
for the relatively high price of $250 to $600 each, but some of the 
choice lots were resold for sums as high as $3,500. By the end of 
the first year J. E. House, an agent for the company, reported that 

6. Wyoming State Tribune-Leader, "Frontier Army Women Had to Use 
Ingenuity in Their Work," by Doris Kent McAllister, March 18, 1936, p. 3. 

7. C. G. Coutant, "History of Wyoming," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 14, 
No. 2 (April, 1942), 155-56. 

8. Beard, op. cit., I, 173. 

9. Merrill J. Mattes, Indians, Infants, and Infantry (Denver: The Old 
West Publishing Co., 1960), p. 105. 


the Union Pacific Railroad Company had sold some $170,000 
worth of property in Cheyenne. 1 " 

Not everyone chose to obtain land legally. The tracks reached 
Cheyenne on November 13, 1867, and with them came a concen- 
tration of ruffians who habitually followed the construction crews. 
Some of them tried to "jump the town," claiming that it was still 
public domain. They soon found, however, that in contrast to 
some of the other terminal towns, civil law was enforced in 

In addition to his duties of escorting and protecting railroad 
workers. General J. E. Stevenson, post commander at Fort D. A. 
Russell, was ordered to take all steps necessary to preserve good 
order and protect the property of the railroad company. 11 In a 
report to Congress, J. E. House compared the lawlessness at Jules- 
burg, Colorado Territory, with the orderly founding of Cheyenne: 

The '"roughs" of the country congregated at Julesburg, jumped the 
town, and rendered the place a hell in the eyes of ail respectable men. 
It was a long time before the company could even hold possession of 
the property. At Cheyenne this state of affairs was avoided by the 
prompt, determined action of General Stevenson, and while he had 
control of the police of that country law was enforced, respectable 
people protected, and business thrived. Under this state of affairs 
Cheyenne, in a few months, sprang up from nothing to a place of 5,000 
inhabitants. 12 

Although the presence of army troops in the area did prevent 
large-scale jumping of land, it did not prevent a certain number of 
undesirables from congregating in the town. Many of the rowdies 
who had plagued Julesburg when it was the railhead town moved 
forward with the track. A number of saloons, bawdy houses, and 
gambling dens had been set up on flatcars for mobility and gained 
the title "Hell-on-Wheels." When this band moved into Cheyenne, 
many of them settled there, giving the epithet, "Hell-on-Wheels," to 
the entire town. From the pen of a sensitive Episcopal missionary 
comes the following description of Cheyenne written in January, 

The amount that has been done here is wonderful, and the activity of 
the place is surprising, and the wickedness is unimaginable and appall- 
ing. This is the great centre for gamblers of all shades, and roughs, 
and troops of lewd women, and bull-whackers. Almost every other 
house is a drinking saloon, gambling house, restaurant, dance house or 
bawdy. In the east, as a general thing, vice is obliged in some measure 
to keep somewhat in the dark, and a cloak of refinement is thrown 

10. U.S., Congress, House, General Dodge's Report, Ex. Doc, No. 331, 
40th Cong., 2d Sess., July 10, 1868, p. 48. 

11. Kendall, op. cit., p. 8. 

12. General Dodge's Report, op. cit., p. 18. 


over it. But here all is open and above board and the eyes and ears 
are assailed at every turn. 13 

In spite of the evil that flourished, respectable settlers surged into 
the infant town, and a Wyoming pioneer later wrote that 

while it has many times been said and no doubt believed to the con- 
trary, there never was a time . . . when the respectable element of its 
people did not out-number all other classes nearly two to one. 14 

Sober citizens were active in building a well-balanced commun- 
ity. Less than one year ofter the founding of the town there were 
ministers of three different faiths busily at work in Cheyenne. 15 
So rapidly was the town transformed from a hell-roaring tent camp 
to a substantial community with hundreds of buildings and a sound 
city government, that eastern newsmen respectfully entitled it "The 
Magic City of the Plains." 1 " 

Of course there were growing pains for the city, and the respect- 
able element did not always get the publicity it deserved. There 
were problems to overcome, and occasionally troops from Fort 
D. A. Russell were called in to restore order. One of these inci- 
dents occurred on January 23, 1 868 — the day that Cheyenne was 
to elect its first city government. The Reverend Joseph Cook 
reports that, "there was some shooting on the street today and so I 
did not go out until the streets were cleared by the presence of 
cavalry from Fort Russell." 17 

The citizens of Cheyenne appreciated the assistance of the army 
in establishing a degree of order. To express their approval the 
editor of the city newspaper, The Cheyenne Leader, printed the 
following tribute to General Stevenson: 

As a commanding officer, few men enjoy the entire respect and 
confidence of citizens and soldiers more fully than the commander at 
Fort David Russell — General Stevenson, kind, courteous and prompt, 
a gentleman, soldier and scholar, patriotic and true to the cause of the 
Union, and a firm friend of Cheyenne City, and the interest he has 
taken in its welfare entitles him to the good wishes of its citizens. 18 

Social life flourished in the area when in March, 1868, General 
Stevenson invited the leading citizens of Cheyenne to a ball at the 
post. The Cheyenne Leader reports that officers had decorated 
the walls and ceiling with flags and other insignia, and for dancing 
"the band played some choice, operatic airs." At eleven o'clock 

13. Joseph W. Cook, Diary and Letters, comp. N. S. Thomas (Laramie, 
Wyoming: The Laramie Republican Co., 1919), pp. 12-13. 

14. C. G. Coutant, "History of Wyoming," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 12, 
No. 3 (July, 1940), 241. 

15. Ibid. 

16. Mattes, op. cit., pp. 105-06. 

17. Cook, op. cit., p. 20. 

18. The Cheyenne Leader, February 20, 1868, p. 4. 


everyone sat down "to a well laid table of choice provisions and 
something from France to settle the same.'" Everyone seemed to 
enjoy thoroughly the festivities and hoped soon to repeat the gala 
events of the evening. 11 ' 

While the community could depend on troops from Fort Russell 
to aid them in any major civil disorder, minor disturbances were 
frequent. As in many such frontier towns, a group of citizens 
organized a vigilance committee to take care of its own problems. 
Although the group had no legal authority, the threat of action by 
the Vigilantes was often enough to cause troublemakers to recon- 
sider. The association sometimes held its own "trial 1 ' for an 
offender, then meted out punishment as it saw fit. Only a question 
of semantics determined whether their "justice" should be termed 
execution or murder. 20 But such action did have results. One 
Vigilante raid occurred in Cheyenne in October, 1868. Reverend 
Cook described the events from his point of view: 

. . . the Vigilantes started out about service time to clear the town of 
the worst of the rogues and the whole town was in excitement. They 
hung three men that night, and next morning at nine o'clock in the 
broad daylight they hung another. Two innocent men were shot in the 
melee and have since died, and another is wounded in the arm. It was 
a fearful night — a perfect reign of terror. But it will tend to quiet the 
place. It was exceedingly dangerous before with garroting. robbing 
and shooting. 21 

It took Cheyenne but a short time to establish its own law en- 
forcement agencies. When the town's peace officers became effec- 
tive enough to keep order, they seldom had to call out the troops 
from the post. Occasionally, however, local officials continued 
to ask for military details to aid them in apprehending certain 

Although the soldiers from Fort D. A. Russell were usually well 
behaved, whole chapters might be written on the events, comical 
and sobering, which involved troops who came to Cheyenne on pay 
day. One such affair transpired in September, 1867. An enlisted 
man from the post was in town drinking too much when a sergeant 
from the post found him drunk and took him into custody. As the 
sergeant escorted him out of the building, the soldier became 
quarrelsome. The sergeant drew his revolver and began to beat 
the drunk man. The jarring of the weapon caused it to discharge, 
shooting the sergeant in the abdomen. In the meantime he had 
fractured the soldier's skull. Unlikely as it seems, both men sur- 
vived their injuries. 22 

19. The Cheyenne Leader, March 5. 1868, p. 4. 

20. Hart, op. cit., p. 110. 

21. Cook, op. cit., p. 104. 

22. The Cheyenne Leader, September 18, 1867, p. 1. 


More comical was an incident on December 6, 1867, in which a 
soldier stole an overcoat from one Robert Beers in the city post 
office. The trooper succeeded in leaving the building with the gar- 
ment, but the daily newspaper reported that, "Robert gave chase 
in gallant style, overhauled the culprit and administered a gentle 
tap to his proboscis as caused him to affectionately embrace mother 
earth." Mr. Beers then turned the man over to an officer. 23 

An adventure reported in The Wyoming Weekly Leader also 
gives an insight into the journalistic humor of the day. According 
to the article, "one of the soldier boys from Fort Russell having 
imbibed considerable of the fighting fluid, commonly known as 
whiskey," went to a local butcher shop to purchase some meat. 
When the butcher found that the young man had no money, he 
refused to let him have the meat he requested. The soldier insisted 
and a fight followed, "which ended, on the part of the butcher, in a 
broken window, and a broken nose on the part of the soldier." At 
that time an officer of the law arrived and escorted the soldier to 
the city jail. The young man promptly lay down and went to sleep, 
so the jailer took the opportunity to step out for a few minutes to 
attend to some business. On his return he found the soldier gone. 
The piece then continued: 

He looked to see what time it was, when he found that the hail clock 
had fled also. The supposition is that the soldier had to walk to the 
Fort on time, and not being provided with a timekeeper, he sought to 
provide himself with one at the city's expense. 24 

An incident which almost led to serious difficulties occurred on 
February 19, 1869. The episode grew out of a minor misunder- 
standing. Cheyenne officials had arrested a man from the Second 
Cavalry for intoxication and Major J. Van Vost, then commander 
of the post, sent a letter into town asking for the release of the man. 
Lieutenant Bartlett, who carried the request, somehow forgot to 
present it while he was in Cheyenne and returned to the post with- 
out the prisoner. 

As the lieutenant made his way back to Fort Russell, some 
friends of the prisoner saw him riding alone. They knew of the 
order for their comrade's release and assumed that the city officials 
had refused to let him go. The men, some eighteen in number, 
seized their carbines and under the leadership of Sergeant Kale of 
Company K, Second Cavalry, set out on foot determined to rescue 
their companion. The men had just been paid and were quite 
intoxicated. As soon as Major Van Vost heard that the men had 
left the post, he dispatched Lieutenant Bartlett and six soldiers to 

23. The Cheyenne Leader, December 7, 1867, p. 5. 

24. The Wyoming Weekly Leader, April 3, 1869, p. 7. 


Cheyenne to bring them back. He also sent the following message 
to the city marshall: 

Fort D. A. Russell 
February 19, 1869 
City Marshall 
City of Cheyenne 
Dear Sir, 

I have just been informed that several men have left this fort without 
permission, and have taken their arms with them. These men have 
just been paid, and I fear they, probably being intoxicated, may create 
trouble. I, therefore, sent Lt. Bartlett with a squad of men to arrest 
these persons. Please give him such assistance as he may require. 

Very respectfully, 
J. Van Vost 
Major, 18th Infantry 
Commanding 25 

The two groups arrived in town about the same time but by 
different routes. While Lieutenant Bartlett searched for the mar- 
shal, the raiders surrounded the jail. Word soon reached George 
Hardin, Chief of Police, that the jail was surrounded. He went to 
the scene and immediately found himself confronted by a number 
of carbines. When the invaders demanded the keys, he stalled by 
saying that the keys were down town and that they would have to 
go and get them. Three of the men accompanied him, keeping 
their carbines leveled on him. 

Meantime Lieutenant Bartlett, unable to find the marshal, de- 
livered Major Van Vost's communication to the mayor. The young 
officer then proceeded to the jail. When he confronted the rioting 
soldiers, he ordered them to return immediately to the fort, telling 
them that their comrade would be taken care of. The men, in spite 
of their drunken condition, did have enough judgment left to follow 
the orders of an officer. After they had departed, the lieutenant 
arranged for the release of the prisoner. 

The excitement was not yet over, however. When Sergeant 
Kale's party reached the outskirts of town, they indulged in a little 
merriment by recklessly firing several shots. Lieutenant Bartlett, 
who was a short distance behind the group, heard the shots and 
hurried to the scene. As he approached, two of the raiders fired 
at him. He was not hit and rushed quickly on to the post for aid. 
A force of 150 men hastened to the scene and arrested fourteen of 
the rioters. The remainder were picked up next morning. No one 
was injured in the affray, and the people of Cheyenne had praise for 
the military authorities for acting quickly and decisively in prevent- 
ing a real mishap. 26 

A much more serious affair occurred during the same month. 

25. The Cheyenne Leader, February 19, 1869, p. 

26. Ibid. 


That winter the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians were particularly 
active, committing depredations in eastern Colorado and western 
Kansas. Scouts from Fort Russell were ordered into the field. 
Major Robinson and Captain James Egan commanded the scouting 
parties; during the expedition, eleven mules were stolen from Cap- 
tain Egan's wagon train. Upon their return to the post Captain 
Egan ordered the arrest of a man known as Dick Douglass, 27 whom 
he believed was involved in the mule-stealing. Douglass was put 
into the guard house at Fort Russell. Two days later, two men, 
one of them claiming to be a government detective, appeared at 
the guard house, asking permission to take the prisoner to Camp 
Carlin for questioning about the stolen mules. Douglass was re- 
manded to their custody, and the three men arrived at Camp Carlin 
early in the evening. After some questioning, they left the camp 
about seven o'clock to return to Fort Russell. Midway between 
the quartermaster depot and the fort about twenty-five men rode 
up demanding that they be given the prisoner. The next morning 
the body of Douglass was found hanging by a mule lariat to a 
telegraph pole near where he had been abducted. 28 

A coroner's inquest followed, and some very enlightening facts 
were uncovered. The two men who had taken Douglass from Fort 
Russell turned out to be a wagon master named R. D. Morrison and 
his assistant, Patrick Fitzgerald. Through questioning, authorities 
learned that Morrison had been on the scouting expedition with 
Captain Egan when the mules were stolen and had been suspected 
by some of having been implicated in the crime. The two men had 
gone to Fort Russell and brought Douglass to Captain Hart's quar- 
ters at Camp Carlin. There Douglass had been questioned for 
three and one-half hours and then returned to Morrison and Fitz- 
gerald for the trip back to Fort Russell. About halfway in their 
journey, according to Morrison and Fitzgerald, a party of twenty to 
twenty-five men took the prisoner from them and left four armed 
guards to watch them. A few moments later the group returned, 
telling them to go and report the loss of their prisoner. The editor 
of The Cheyenne Leader reported the following testimony in the 

Morrison testified that the rope with which the deceased was hung is 
such as that used for mule lariats. Colonel Carling testified that Fitz- 
gerald was not a government detective, and that he gave no orders for 
bringing the prisoner to the Quartermaster Depot. Other witnesses 
were examined but no new facts were elicited. 29 

27. There was speculation among residents of Cheyenne that the man's 
real name was Franklin, but no evidence was found to support this 

28. The Cheyenne Leader, February 16, 1869, p. 4. 

29. The Cheyenne Leader, February 17, 1869, p. 4. 


The editor then added a conclusion of his own: 

The case wears a very suspicious appearance, which leads to the belief 
that Franklin, alias Douglass was murdered by being hung by some 
person or persons, who had other motives for getting him out of the 
way than the stealing of government mules.' 10 

He did not elaborate on the supposition. 

The coroner's jury reached a verdict at the conclusion of testi- 
mony on February 17, 1869. The text of the verdict read as 

That the deceased came to his death by being hanged by the neck to 
a telegraph pole between Camp Carling and Fort D. A. Russell, in the 
military reservation in the county of Laramie, by parties unknown, on 
the 15th day of February, 1869. It is believed by the jury that the 
deceased was taken and brought from Fort D. A. Russell under cir- 
cumstances that lead to the full belief, for the purpose of hanging of 
the said deceased, and that Patrick Fitzgerald and R. D. Morrison were 
accessories to and before the fact of the hanging of the said Douglass. 
The jury meantime fully exonerate the officers in command at Fort 
D. A. Russell and Camp Carling from any complicity in the affair, 
and believe that in giving up the deceased to the person representing 
himself as an United States detective, and they did so in good faith, 
that, that deceased would be again given up to their control, 31 

At the close of the investigation, Morrison and Fitzgerald were 
arrested on suspicion of complicity in the hanging and were placed 
in confinement at Fort Russell. 3 - But as no further comment 
appeared in the local papers, it is assumed that the case was never 
brought to trial. 

Another brutal murder occurred at the post a few years later. 
In December, 1877, a young man named Will Baker was visiting 
at Fort D. A. Russell when he began quarreling with Thomas Mur- 
ray, a soldier at the camp. Baker reportedly bought a butcher 
knife, for which he paid fifty cents, sought out Murray, and stabbed 
him to death. Baker was arrested and taken to the jail in 

Baker went on trial for first degree murder on March 26, 1878. 
The trial was held in a federal court, since the killing had taken 
place on property of the national government. The hearing took 
on greater importance when it was revealed that Will Baker was 
the son of a former governor of New Hampshire. The defense 
pleaded insanity and, after a long and spirited trial, Baker was 

Soldiers from the post became highly aroused at the verdict and 
determined to lynch Baker if they could get him. They had already 
made one attempt to abduct him to get him out of jail, but the 

30. Ibid. 

31. The Cheyenne Leader. February 18, 1869, p. 4. 

32. Ibid. 


jailer had been successful in sounding the alarm and getting rein- 
forcements to dissuade the troopers. After the verdict was ren- 
dered, however, their determination to lynch him was at a new 
high. On the day that Baker was scheduled to be released and 
returned to the east, a large party of cavalrymen mounted their 
horses and rode to a station six miles east of Cheyenne. Here they 
hoped to stop the train on which they believed Baker would be a 
passenger. Then they planned to hang him. They were foiled, 
however, because Baker's attorneys, fearing such an incident, sent 
him out on another train. 

Three weeks after Baker returned to his home in Iowa he was 
accused of attempting to murder his mother. He was taken before 
the State Board of Medical Examiners, pronounced insane, and 
sent to an asylum. He escaped from this institution twice. The 
first time he was captured and returned to his confinement. But 
the second time he eluded his captors and eventually enlisted in 
the army. 

As fate would have it, Baker was sent to Fort D. A. Russell with 
a group of recruits. Before he was recognized by any of the sol- 
diers, friends of the Baker family reported his whereabouts to the 
commandant at the post. He had Baker taken to Cheyenne and 
placed in the city jail for safekeeping. The deranged soldier soon 
received orders transferring him to Fort Steele. He reported to his 
new station but died in the service within a few months." 3 


Garrison life is an important subject in the study of a military 
post. Life on the frontier was a mixture of excitement, boredom, 
fresh air, poor pay, and hard work. Fort D. A. Russell was no 
exception. There were hardships and hazards. The harsh winter 
weather brought extra problems. But Fort Russell had two ad- 
vantages which many of the posts to the northwest lacked: there 
were no Indians in the immediate vicinity and almost no danger 
of Indian attack, and the post was not completely isolated from 
settlement as were others such as Fort C. F. Smith, Fort Steele, 
and Fort Phil Kearny. Charles Lester, a soldier who had just 
come to Fort Russell from Fort Steele, wrote to his sister: 

This is a vary [sic] nice post and the country is a great deal better than 
it was up there but the duty is some harder than it was up there. 1 

33. C. G. Coutant, "History of Wyoming," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 14, 
No. 2 (April, 1942), 155. 

1. Letter from Charles Lester to his sister, Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, 
June 16, 1869 (From the Microfilm Files of the Fort Laramie National 
Historic Site.) 


The food at Fort Russell was filling if not always palatable. 
Quarters were crowded and sometimes unsanitary but were ade- 
quately comfortable. Pay was always a sore spot especially with 
the enlisted men, who were frequently out of money a week after 

One of the prime factors in the morale of the troops was the food 
which they received. Reports and diaries indicate that there was 
never a shortage in quantity of provisions, even during the early 
days at Fort D. A. Russell, but there was little variety in the diet. 
The army ration in 1867 consisted of 

meat and bread and one gill [four ouncesl of rum, whiskey, or brandy 
daily, and to every hundred rations, two quarts of salt, four quarts of 
vinegar, four pounds of soap, and a pound and a half of candles. 2 

Colonel John Finn, who contracted to furnish beef to Fort Rus- 
sell, had a large cattle yard at Omaha from which he sent as many 
as a dozen carloads of fat beef at a time. 3 Hospital gardens were 
planted in the early years to provide fresh vegetables for the men, 
but these attempts were abandoned as grasshoppers regularly de- 
stroyed the crops. 4 Certain vegetables in season came through the 
Quartermaster Depot. The following menu of 1870, from the 
records of a nearby post, illustrated the monotony of army rations: 


Breakfast: Roast beef and gravy or beef steak and turnips 

or fried pork and potatoes. 
Dinner: Bread and coffee, roast beef and gravy, mashed 

potatoes and onions. 
Supper: Bread pudding, stewed dried apples, pancakes 

and syrup. 

Breakfast: Dry hash or fresh pork or bacon. 
Dinner: Vegetable soup or boiled fresh beef and sliced 

Supper: Syrup, bread and coffee. 

Breakfast: Pancakes and molasses or roast beef with 

gravy and onions. 
Dinner: Baked beans or peas or pork or boiled rice and 

Syrup: Warm biscuits, syrup, bread, and coffee. 

Breakfast: Pork or bacon and fried potatoes or hash. 
Dinner: Beef stew with vegetables. 
Supper: Stewed dried apples and bread and coffee. 

2. U.S., Department of the Air Force, "A Brief History of Francis E. 
Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming," Manuscript Prepared by the Informa- 
tion Office, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, n.d., p. 2. 

3. The Cheyenne Leader, October 10, 1867, p. 1. 

4. U.S., War Department, Surgeon General's Office, A Report on Bar- 
racks and Hospitals, Circular No. 4 (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1870), p. 344. 



Breakfast: Beef steak with gravy and onions. 
Dinner: Roast beef and potatoes, occasionally coffee. 
Supper: Syrup, bread, and coffee or pancakes and syrup. 

Breakfast: Roast beef and gravy (Occasionally codfish) 

and pancakes. 
Dinner: Bean soup with pork or bacon. 
Supper: Bread and coffee. 

Breakfast: Roast beef or beef steak or pancakes and 

Dinner: Roast beef, gravy, potatoes, and coffee or boiled 

fresh beef. 
Supper: Syrup, bread, coffee or warm biscuits and 

syrup. 5 

Charles Lester described army "chow" as he saw it in another 
letter to his sister: 

I ett so much at dinner time that I could hardly waddle about. You 
may be astonished though to know what I eat [sic], for a soldier don't 
generly get the best of grub you know so I will tell you if it will be of 
any interest to you. We had roast beef and potatoes and gravy and 
apple dumplin and you better beleave I eat and eat. 6 

As the process of canning was perfected, the diet was enriched 
with canned vegetables and fruits, which made mealtime much 
more enjoyable for the men. 

Each man sat down to meals with his own company around a 
long wooden table. Tin cups and plates and iron utensils made up 
the table service until the late 1880's, when the quartermaster 
issued heavy white ironstone dinnerware. A noncommissioned 
officer generally presided at each table. 7 

Rations for men in the field contained even less variety than 
those in the mess halls. Regulations allowed for each man one 
pound of hardtack, which was large wafers of unleavened bread; 
twelve ounces of bacon or salt pork; one ounce of coffee; and a 
little salt. This unappetizing menu was supplemented by any wild 
game or fish which the men could bring in. 8 

The officers and men who had their wives on post took meals 
with their own families when the company was not in the field. 
The post commissary carried items such as salt, sugar, molasses, 

5. " 'Chow' Menu Changes Greatly in Century," Warren Sentinel, V, No. 
38 (September 24, 1962), 8. 

6. Letter from Charles Lester to his Sister, Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, 
September 6, 1869 (From the Microfilm Files of the Fort Laramie National 
Historic Site.) 

7. Don Rickey, Jr., Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1963), p. 82. 

8. S. E. Whitman, The Troopers (New York: Hastings House, 1962), 
p. 53. 


syrup, flour, meal, rice, raisins, dried beans and peas, vinegar, 
and pork. 9 Families often kept cows, pigs, and chickens behind 
their quarters to provide fresh milk and occasional eggs. Aside 
from these items local game and vegetation provided delicious 
variations. In their off-duty hours soldiers sometimes hunted 
antelope, deer, elk, rabbits, pheasant and sage hens. The women 
and children picked berries and gathered sorrel and lamb's quarters 
for green salads. Fishing was a pleasant and rewarding pastime. 10 
For those who could afford it, many varieties of fruits and vege- 
tables were available in the stores in Cheyenne. The wife of a 
young officer wrote of the delicacies which could be obtained there: 

All things really necessary could be purchased there, but at exceedingly 
high prices. Corn on the cob was a great treat, especially as it was the 
first we had eaten for three years. Peaches and pears from California 
were enjoyed sparingly as eating them was like consuming gold. 
Luscious red watermelon too, cold and tempting, how delicious! 11 

For several years after the Civil War most of the uniform items 
issued to recruits were pieces which were left over from the war. 
The basic items consisted of 

the navy-blue, wool sack coat with single row of brass-eagle buttons, 
two pairs of light-blue kersey trousers, two grey or dark-blue flannel 
shirts, a couple of suits of wrist- and ankle-length two-piece underwear, 
a caped overcoat of light-blue wool, a pair of rough boots or ankle- 
high brogans, a forage cap (or kepi), and a leather waist belt with 
some accouterments. 12 

Experimental clothing also became a part of the wardrobe. In 
1867, the government issued buffalo shoes, buffalo skin overcoats, 
and gauntlets and helmets made of seal skin. 13 

New recruits seldom received clothing which fit them. Blisters 
caused by ill-fitting shoes and boots were among the most common 
ailments. In addition, the rough underwear itched unmercifully 
when the weather turned warm. 14 

Socks were then known as stockings. A pair of worsted ones 
cost forty-one cents a pair. Gloves were issued to the men in 
threes: two rights and one left. Shoes were among the most im- 
portant items of equipment and were the object of frequent experi- 
ment. In addition to buffalo shoes, the army tried what it called 
"snow excluders," which were arctic overshoes designed to keep 

9. Wyoming State Tribune-Leader, March 18, 1936, pp. 1-2. 

10. Ibid., p. 2. 

11. Merrill J. Mattes, Indians, Infants, and Infantry (Denver: The Old 
West Publishing Co., 1960), p. 176. 

12. Rickey, op. cit., p. 35. 

13. "Welcome to F. E. Warren A. F. B., Wyoming," Pamphlet from the 
Information Office, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, n.d., p. 1. 

14. Rickey, op. cit., p. 35. 


out coid and moisture. 1 '" These were less than successful, and the 
men soon returned to the common leather shoes of the day. Even 
by the turn of the century the problem had not been solved. In 
1901, the Inspector General's Office noted a complaint from the 
commanding officer of Company F, Eighteenth infantry, that, "in 
russet shoes the soles are too thin for hard marching. The upper is 
too easily affected by moisture." 10 

In the same report the inspecting officer, Major J. A. Irons, 
invites attention to the many colors of leggings being worn with 
uniforms at the fort and finds it "almost impracticable to equip an 
organization with uniform-colored legging." 17 

Life in a military barrack provided the enlisted man with little or 
no privacy. The privates and corporals usually had cots placed in 
one large room. The sergeants sometimes were fortunate enough 
to have small areas partitioned off for their beds and belongings. 

The men at Fort Russell slept on two-story wooden bunks, each 
bunk accommodating four men. Bedsacks filled with straw were 
placed over wooden slats. During the 1880's, mattresses replaced 
the bedsacks. Pillows were stuffed with various substances. The 
post surgeon reported those in the hospital and guardhouse were 
stuffed with horsehair. 18 

A water closet was situated about seventy-five feet behind each 
barrack, and bath houses were later built some distance from the 

The company quarters were heated by stoves. During the early 
years, the men used wood for fuel, but as the Wyoming coal field 
began to produce, coal came to be the most popular fuel. The 
pot-bellied cast iron stoves which heated the barracks were a con- 
stant source of irritation to the quartermaster, as they regularly 
required parts which he had trouble in securing. 19 

The barracks and other housing was illuminated by candles and 
lanterns. Candles were a part of each man's ration. Oil for the 
lantern came from the quartermaster's supply. After the post had 

15. Jane R. Kendall, "History of Fort Francis E. Warren," Annals of 
Wyoming, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January, 1946), pp. 12-13. 

16. U.S., War Department, Inspector General's Office, Report of Inspec- 
tion of Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, Made October 22-26, 1901 (Washing- 
ton: Government Printing Office, 1902), n.p. 

17. Ibid. 

18. A Report on Barracks and Hospitals, op. cit., pp. 341-42; and Rickey, 
op. cit.. p. 81. 

19. Kendall, op. cit., p. 14. 

* Fort David A. Russell, established in 1867 three miles west of the infant 
city of Cheyenne, was laid out around a diamond-shaped parade ground. 
In this sketch, Crow Creek is in the foreground and the road to Cheyenne at 
the center. Infantry and cavalry officers' quarters are shown along the left 
hand borders of the parade ground, and barracks are on the right. 







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been in operation for several years, lamps mounted on posts pro- 
vided light along the streets. By the I890's, there were thirty of 
these street lamps. Prisoners were charged with the responsibility 
of refueling and lighting the lamps. 20 

The officers did not live in the barracks but were provided hous- 
ing commensurate with their rank and position. The ones who 
were married lived with their families in a private dwelling, while 
those who were unaccompanied often shared quarters with one 
other officer. 

Until 1884, a soldier was expected to learn the duties and cus- 
toms of army life by imitation and instruction. In that year, how- 
ever, the army issued a manual entitled, The Soldier's Handbook. 
The volume was pocket sized and leather bound and provided a 
summary of most of the information which a man needed to do 
well in the military. 21 

The duties of the men stationed at Fort D. A. Russell were many 
and varied. Patrol and escort duty was most important, as this 
was the purpose for which the post was founded. In addition, the 
men served on fatigue details such as building and repairing struc- 
tures on the post, bringing in firewood, hauling water, cutting ice, 
kitchen duty, and policing the grounds. All personnel were also 
required to take part in the regular drills and mounts. 

The primary duty of the soldiers at Fort Russell was to patrol 
along the route of the Union Pacific Railroad while it was being 
constructed. They were to protect the lives and property of sur- 
veyors and construction workers from Indian attack. The patrol 
area extended from near the present site of Sidney, Nebraska, to the 
Laramie Mountains. 22 

The troops also furnished escort parties for dignitaries and other 
travelers who requested military protection. Occasionally a detail 
tried to recover livestock which the Indians had stolen from a 
homesteader. Records also show that they furnished food for the 
victims of a grasshopper plague and rescued passengers when 
trains were snowed in by blizzards. 23 During the Indian Wars of 
the 1 870's, several companies at a time left the post to join columns 
marching into Indian country. Quite often the combination of 
these details left the post itself quite short of manpower. At times 

There was about 20 of us had a little squabble with the red skins the 
other day. There were about 25 of them as near as I could judge. We 
only killed three of them and the rest escaped. We took the scalps 
of the ones we killed and let them lay. 24 

20. Ibid., pp. 14-15. 

21. Rickey, op. cit., p. 38. 

22. Jane R. Kendall, Unpublished Notes in the Wyoming State Archives, 
File No. HCL 2:1:7. 

23. Ibid. 

24. Letter from Charles Lester, June 16, 1869, op. cit. 


there were scarcely enough troops available to man the various 
guards and protect the post. 

After returning from one of these details, Fort Russell trooper 
Charles Lester wrote to his sister about an encounter that he and 
his comrades had with the Indians: 

This account proves that barbarism was not restricted to the 

Fatigue details were a most unpopular part of army life. Con- 
struction projects were necessary on the frontier posts, and as there 
were few civilians to do the building and repairs, the troops were 
required to do much of the work. Soldiers received little extra pay 
for these arduous tasks, unless they were experienced in a craft 
which was required, such as carpentry, stonemasonry, or some 
similar trade. These skilled laborers received extra pay of thirty- 
five cents per day. Common soldier-laborers received twenty to 
twenty-five cents daily. There was continual grumbling within the 
ranks, and a popular song went: "A dollar a day is damn poor 
pay, but thirteen a month is less!" 2 "' They realized that such work 
was necessary in the maintenance of a post, but resented being used 
by the government as cheap labor. 

The post surgeon noted in 1867 that much of the hard labor on 
the company barracks was performed by daily details of soldiers. 
When the buildings were being repaired and new ones erected dur- 
ing the 1880's, much of the work again was assigned to fatigue 

Other, less arduous, details were those which provided wood 
and water for the station. The wood-cutting crews went a few miles 
west, into the Pole Mountain area, cut the wood, and hauled it 
back to the post. Water was brought from Crow Creek by horse- 
drawn water wagons. They delivered water to each company mess, 
officers' quarters, and other specified areas. 

Ice-cutting was one of the most difficult details. During the 
coldest part of the Wyoming winter, crews traveled to Sloan's 
Lake, where they cut blocks of ice. Then they hauled them back 
to the post. Usually a large number of men composed the ice- 
cutting party, so that they would have to work only a short time. 26 

Kitchen police, universally disliked by soldiers, was another task 
which had to be done at the western posts. The job consisted of 
chopping firewood and hauling it into the company kitchen, carry- 
ing water, waiting on the men at mealtime, washing whatever 
utensils were used in the preparation and eating of the meal, and 
other odd jobs that the cooks found for them to do. 27 

Other crews were assigned daily to clean the stables; feed, water, 

25. Rickey, op. cit., pp. 95-96. 

26. Kendall, Unpublished Notes, op. cit., File No. HCL 2:1:1. 

27. Rickey, op. cit., p. 98. 






























and groom the mounts; dispose of garbage; clean the privies; and 
police the grounds of the post. 28 

On ever> f military installation during the last half of the nine- 
teenth century a rigid routine governed the activities of its soldiers. 
Formations and parades formed the core of the daily routine. Post 
Surgeon C. A. Alden included a schedule from the year 1868 in 
his Medical History: 



Fatigue Call 

Surgeon's Call 

Sunday Inspection 

Guard Mount 





Recall from Drill 

Recall from Fatigue 




The schedule varied depending on the season and other factors. 

After reveille and breakfast each morning, those men assigned to 
fatigue details went to their work. Those few soldiers who had not 
received specific duties were free to use their time as they pleased, 
so long as they stayed within range of the bugle call. 

Surgeon's Call was usually well attended, as respiratory illnesses 
and dysentery were quite common in the area. 

Guard mount was the high point of the day. The function of this 
formation was to change the guard, but the ceremony which grew 
up around it included close inspection of men and arms and often 
included the manual of arms. As Fort D. A. Russell had a band in 
residence most of the time, the guard mounts and dress parades 
were called into formation by these musicians. 

All troops were expected to attend the formation unless special 
duties or illness precluded their being there. They were expected 
to turn out for guard mount and dress parades at frontier garrisons 
with the same smartness of dress and bearing that marked the well- 
established eastern posts. Before the new guard formed in the 
morning, each man spruced up his arms, his mount, and himself, 
and fell into position. Each company was inspected by its first 
sergeant. He then gave the duty assignments for the day. When 

28. Ibid., p. 96. 

29. U.S., War Department, Surgeon General's Office, "Fort D. A. Rus- 
sell: Record of Medical History of Post," Manuscript in the National Ar- 
chives, Microfilm Copy in the Wyoming State Archives and Historical De- 
partment (4 vols.), I, 89. 


he was satisfied with the condition of the troops, he presented them 
to the officer of the day. The officer inspected the guard, some- 
times ordering them through the manual of arms. Then the new 
guard replaced the old for a twenty-four hour watch. 30 

After lunch, the men performed more chores and had a period of 
formal drill practice. Retreat came at sunset, after which the men 
ate and were usually free to relax until taps were sounded and lights 

The Sunday inspection was the highlight of the week. Everyone 
turned out to see the troops in their best "spit and polish" condition. 
The women of the post and often spectators from Cheyenne came 
to see the men move through various drills and inspections. There 
was great competition among the companies and the men worked 
especially hard getting all of their equipment in the best possible 
condition for these inspections. A diary, dated February 2, 1868, 
reports that the "men made a fine appearance" at the general 
review and inspection/' 1 Customarily after the Sunday morning 
parade many of the men were granted passes to go into Cheyenne. 

Discipline of the soldiers occasionally became a problem. Thus, 
every post had a guardhouse which served as a local jail. The men 
who were confined there were those who had been sentenced to a 
short period of imprisonment. Those convicted of more serious 
crimes were sent to Leavenworth as quickly as possible. All pris- 
oners were the responsibility of the men who were serving guard 
duty. The officer of the day had the immediate responsibility for 
the actions of the guards. Military prisoners worked a full day 
every day, usually at the tasks which were least popular among the 
men — filling water barrels, cleaning privies and policing the parade 
grounds. 32 

(to be concluded) 

30. Whitman, op. cit., pp. 155-156; and Rickey, op. cit., p. 91. 

31. Joseph W. Cook, Diary and Letters, comp. N. S. Thomas (Laramie, 
Wyoming: The Laramie Republican Co., 1919), p. 28. 

32. Whitman, op. cit., pp. 97-98. 

Zke Plains Indian Znreat 
On the Oregon trail before 1860 

Robert L. Munkres 

The great wagon and emigrant roads west, and particularly the 
Oregon-California Trail, served as main arteries through which 
flowed the lifeblood of a rapidly growing republic. The tens of 
thousands of people who participated in the great migration came 
from widely varying backgrounds, and their reasons for moving 
west were equally diverse. But the journey itself — the difficulties 
and dangers attendant to it — imposed a certain, albeit temporary, 
uniformity upon those who undertook it. Wagons bogged down, 
possessions were abandoned, disease struck; these and other prob- 
lems presented themselves with fine impartiality and disregard for 
social, religious and economic antecedents. Of course, efforts were 
made to anticipate these problems. As the years passed, increas- 
ingly careful preparations were made for the westward journey in 
an effort to eliminate or at least to alleviate as many problems as 
possible. Regardless of preparation, however, the trip was never 
less than extremely difficult, usually involved considerable danger 
and with some frequency proved fatal. 

Out of the commonality of such experiences with danger has 
emerged one of the most popular and most highly romanticized 
facets of American history. Of the obstacles encountered by emi- 
grants, the one which has lent itself most readily to romantic pop- 
ularization is the threat of Indian attack. If a movie or a television 
western deals with the movement west, one can be almost certain 
that at some point circled wagons will be attacked by numerous 
mounted Indians. Such treatment has created an impression that 
each wagon train had to fight its way through Indians almost every 
mile from the Missouri River to the Pacific coast. 

The purpose of this article is to describe and, within the limits 
imposed by the sources, to evaluate the threat of attack by plains 
Indians on the Oregon-California Trail as far as Bear River or Fort 
Bridger. The descriptions and evaluations are based on or taken 
directly from sixty-six diaries kept by travelers. The dates of the 
diaries range from 1834 to 1858; forty-seven of the diaries were 
written during the eleven year period from 1845 through 1855. 1 

1. Unless otherwise noted, the diaries or copies of diaries used are in the 


The period prior to 1860 was selected for two reasons: (1) the 
greatest number of emigrants used the trail before 1860; and (2) 
after 1860, and more particularly after the Civil War, most of those 
who traversed the old trail were no longer passing through. 
The lure of gold and land was leading to settlement. The great 
increase in Indian troubles in the 60's and the 70's was largely the 
result of such settlement. Exercising a right of transit is not the 
same as staking a claim; it is one thing to allow "tourists" to pass 
through one's land, it is something considerably different if the 
"tourist" pulls a gun and claims the land. In the latter case, 
present-day property owners would probably react in a manner not 
unlike that of the plains Indian. 

The various Indian tribes on the Platte-Sweetwater route did 
pose a threat to those moving west. Just how serious this threat 
was prior to 1860 can be determined, in part, by reference to sev- 
eral sets of figures. In the sixty-six diaries utilized for this study, 
there were nine eyewitness accounts and four second-hand reports 
of Indian attacks or the immediate results of such attacks. Situa- 
tions in which an attack appeared both plausible and imminent 
were described in eight diaries. It is apparent that an overwhelm- 
ing majority of the diarists and their companions encountered no 
overt threat of attack while passing through present-day Nebraska 
and Wyoming. 

The figures cited above were, of course, not known to those who 
traversed the Oregon Trail; in any event, they would have been of 
small comfort to anyone who did encounter problems with hostile 
Indians. Lydia Milner Waters' party crossed the plains in 1855. 
On the basis of their experiences, they would have been unim- 
pressed by the conclusion noted above. 

Four days before we reached the crossing (Upper Platte Crossing) 
a band of cattle were being drvien over by their owner and some other 
men. An Indian galloped up, asked for the 'captain', and after they 
had shaken hands and as soon as the 'captain's' back was turned, he 
shot him through the heart. Then he galloped to the hills again and 
escaped. The 'captain' was buried at the crossing. 

That night (the party was camped about two miles from Willow 
Springs) there was so much talking in the train that no one slept. 
Luckily, for about three o'clock in the morning a band of Indians tried 
to surprise us. Being awake we were ready. They then galloped 
toward a small train of Irishmen who had a drove of cattle and always 
camped a few rods from us for protection. They fired a pistol or two 
and the Indians left. We counted sixteen against the eastern sky as 
they went over the top of a hill. We had been aware that party of 
Sioux had been following us for two weeks, but this was the last we 
saw of them, except a war party up the Sweetwater. 

A long way up the Sweetwater we fell in with a war party of the 
Sioux. They were in their war paint, rawhide shields, and other fix- 

files of Mr. Paul Henderson of Bridgeport, Nebraska. Appreciation for Mr. 
Henderson's cooperation and encouragement is gratefully acknowledged. 


ings. They were civil, only wanted provisions, so every wagon con- 
tributed what they could spare. The men of the train made as great a 
display as they could clanking their firearms and walking by their 

James E. Enos ( 1855) reported another attack in the vicinity of 
the Platte River Bridge : 

The sun had passed behind the high bluff to the west of us and the 
shadows of night were gathering around that quiet spot, men were re- 
clining upon the grass smoking their pipes, the mothers preparing 
themselves and children for repcse in their tents and wagons free from 
fear of the tragedy so soon to be enacted upon that camp ground. 

It was time the horses were brought in and secured for the night. 
The father of the writer taking upon himself the task of driving the 
stock nearer by, set out on foot to where he might be able to catch a 
horse and return driving in the entire herd. He had not gone more 
than a quarter of a mile when he secured one of his own and mounting 
it, started the band toward camp. He had not proceeded far on his 
return before meeting a young lady of the train and a six year old 
sister of the writer in search of a cow which had strayed beyond the 
limit of regulation. By the time the cow was reached and in the act 
of milking, a sound as though the mountains were crashing from their 
base broke upon the ears of the bewildered girls. 

My father had passed behind a point of rocks which made down 
from the bluff toward the river, hiding them from his view, but the 
piercing shriek of his child reached him, hurriedly riding back where 
he could look up the stream, beheld the frightened girls fleeing for 
their lives, and in close pursuit more than thirty Sioux warriors clad in 
hideous garb. Warpaint on their faces, and with demonical yells, were 
urging their fleet of horses toward the defenceless girls. It was the 
work of but a moment. My father to save his child or die in the 
attempt, to reach them before the Indians could was the only hope of 
saving the girls. With fleet horses on either side each rushed for vic- 
tory, the Indians intent upon plunder and murder if need be, the other 
alone inspired with the fearlessness to do and dare in the face of so 
many red devils, whose shouts of exaltation made the evening air 
resonant with crim [sic]. 

The seconds were hours of agony to the distracted girls who cried in 
despair, "Father, save us," but with firmness and deliberation of pur- 
pose he grasped my sister by the arm and brought her safely on the 
horse in front of himself, and not a second to spare for at that instant 
a powerful redskin dealt him a blow across the head which nearly un- 
seated him, but his horse dashed away from his pursuer before another 
thrust of his lance could reach its intended victim. 

Maddened with defeat the Indian spurred his foaming horse until 
the blood streamed from his sides and on nearing camp, the hope of 
obtaining my sister gone, he again hurled his lance with deadly aim 
but the fleetness of the horse my father rode carried him almost be- 
yond reach of the blow which entered his back near the right shoulder 
to the depth of half an inch. 

The Indian turned away and sought his companions, who were en- 
deavoring to separate the horses from the oxen, for in their fright all 

2. Lydia Milner Waters, "Account of a Trip". Quarterly of the Society 
of California Pioneers. (Newberry Microfilm 3-14). Compiled by M. J. 
Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by Louise Ridge — 3/46. 


together had made a charge on the camp ground and it was with diffi- 
culty the Indians could separate them. 

My father reached camp and gave his child into the arms of my 
mother. His wound although painful was not severe enough to require 
immediate attention and he at once accompanied by others retraced 
his steps to find the young lady left behind as the unmanageableness 
of his horse with no bridle prevented giving her any aid more than 
telling her to lie down in the tall grass. But a stalwart brave discov- 
ered her hiding place and atiempted to carry her off but received in 
the face a blow from her milk pail which caused him to spear her 
seven times in the back and shoulders and left her as he supposed 
dying. Still she had the strength to stand up and feebly make her way 
toward camp where she was met soon as possible and conveyed to the 
train, her wounds examined which fortunately were not too deep, and 
unless made with a poisoned spear not fatal, which a few hours would 

After the excitement was over we looked around for the result and 
found one half of our horses driven away with but one red devil sent 
to the happy hunting grounds. . . . 

How most of the horses followed by thirty or more Indians passed 
among the wagons without doing much damage or killing someone has 
always seemed providential, for no one was injured, save by fear in 
their wild chase. . . . 

Soon as the horses were in their power the Indians began a retreat 
driving their prizes away in defiance and with shouts of victory. After 
following for several miles but distance only increased the number of 
Indians with no chance of recovery the men turned disheartened away 
and returned to camp. . . . 

A council was called, a vote taken as to what should be done and 
resulted in going forward. Then began the destruction of everything 
which might fall into the hands of our foes. 

All but the absolute necessities and provisions were destroyed, wag- 
ons and carriages left on the spot as monuments of our misfortune. 
Carts were constructed from the hind wheels of wagons, cows made to 
take the place of oxen and the following day with sad hearts, began 
again our toilsome way. 

Our hope lay in reaching the bridge on Platte River some sixteen 
miles distant where we might possibly purchase teams and continue 
the journey. More than a week was consumed in going that distance. 
A few miles a day was all we could drag our sand clogged carts and 
wagons over but will and human strength finally conquered for on 
reaching the trading post found we could purchase oxen at reasonable 
rates as a train had just arrived from Salt Lake and were willing to 
dispose of the entire outfit which was bought and we were again on the 
road day by day increasing the distance between ourselves and the 
homes of our childhood. 3 

Such detailed descriptions of clashes between whites and Indians 
are frequently lacking. Sarah Sutton's party (1854) passed an- 
other train about four days beyond Fort Laramie. Her brief diary 
notation said merely "Passed a Train that was laying by on account 

3. James E. Enos, Recollections of the Plains, pp. 2-4. (Newberry Micro- 
film 4-8). Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by Louise Ridge 
— 2/46. According to Mr. Enos, the young lady who was wounded did 
recover and complete the trip to California. 


of one of their men being wounded by an Indian the day before." 4 
We are necessarily left to wonder what kind of story lay behind 
such a cursory report. 

No such speculation is necessary with regard to the death which 
occured in the camp of Thomas Flint (1853) on Buffalo Creek, 
just beyond the Grand Island: 

As the moon was coming up at about Vz past 12 o'clock in the morn- 
ing we were suddenly called by the guard crying in alarm, "Ho ho, 
come here quick." Almost at the same instant I heard the click of a 
flint lock and heavy report of a gun. My pistol, whether awake or 
asleep was always at my right hand. The unusual movement of the 
stock had awakened me for at no time while on the journey did I sleep 
soundly. Pistol in hand I hurried to where my saddle mare was staked 
and found James Force dead, two heavy bullets about an ounce each 
had been shot through from right to left side of the chest which were 
found one in the blanket — the other just under the skin at point of exit. 
My mare had been cut loose from her stake-pin but she could not be 
held as she would drag the strongest man, white or Indian, in the 
direction of our tent. . . . Though I was immediately at the spot where 
Force was lying, there was not an Indian in sight — but was most likely 
in the brush on the bank of the creek. 

... In the morning we dug a grave and having rolled Force in the 
blanket he was killed in, sorrowfully deposited him in what we would 
be glad to consider his last resting place, but we well knew the hyenas 
of the plains would soon dig him out and scatter his bones to the four 
winds of heaven. 

When collecting our stock and some ways from the camp we saw 
an Indian climbing out on the opposite side of the creek. 

We had an Indian appetite and wanted him, so made a rush after 
him. He was a little too much ahead to be reached by our rifle shots 
and besides was a fleet runner which may be expected under such 
circumstances, so that he made the bluffs in safety. About half of our 
men and of Frazer's were so frightened they hid themselves in such 
places as seemed to afford protection from Indians. 

James Force was an Englishman as he said, about 35 years of age 
who had inherited quite a fortune and spent it in riotous living, then 
became a sailor for a time, finally had the California fever and deter- 
mined to strike the overland trail to work his passage on, and that was 
the way we picked him up. . . . 

Two Omaha Indians had been in camp a few days before who car- 
ried between them an English musket, old style, with a flint lock and 
they used for wadding, scraped slippery elm bark dried, such as we 
found in the wound, hence supposed they had endeavored to steal the 
horses or a part of them. 5 

Individuals who, for whatever reason, became separated from 
the main body were "asking for trouble." Sometimes such "trou- 
ble" turned into a footrace, with the highest prize of all at stake: 

4. "Diary of Sarah Sutton". Copied from the typed copy belonging to 
Mrs. Frances T. McBeth, 1520 Wellington Street, Oakland, California, May 
28, 1957. Entry for June 6, 1854. 

5. Thomas Flint, Diary. Los Angeles, 1923. (Newberry Microfilm 2 — 25). 
Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by Louise Ridge — 12/45. 
Entry for Monday 27th (1853). 


Suddenly a shot, the alarm signal of the sentinal, rang out. Every 
whisper was hushed, and listening attentively, we could hear the tread 
of footsteps coming down the bluff. A moment sufficed to change the 
whole scene. The fires were deserted: and on the side toward the 
guard, the men stood with firmly clasped rifles, and strained eyeballs. 
The guard retreats — is hailed — it is not the savage yell, but the feeble 
voice of a tired, almost fainting emigrant. 

Three men, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted with running, entered our 
camp. They had been hunting and were pursued by a party of mount- 
ed Indians, supposed to be Sioux. Hiding among the rocks they eluded 
their pursuers until dark, and then made an effort to find the road, 
but were discovered, and had been chased about six miles. It was a 
race for life, and only on coming in sight of our camp fire was the 
pursuit relinquished. One had lost his hat, the other his shoes, yet, 
with torn and bleeding feet he had kept on his way. After resting and 
taking supper, they went to their company, which had passed us at 
sunset, and was camped about a mile distant. 

The thought of hostile savages prowling around the camp produced 
a feeling of unrest, and all were relieved when the night was gone.' 5 

A similar incident occured near Brady's Island two years later. 
James Frear noted in his diary on Thursday, May 20, 1852: "That 
night a man was driven from the bluffs by about 20 Pawnees." 7 

On other occasions, wandering away from the security of the 
train resulted in unexpected "confrontations" with Indians. Such 
meetings, while uniformly frightening, did not always result in 
injury or death. In the case of Edwin Bryant (1846), a bald- 
faced bluff proved to be sufficient protection: 

I crossed through the brush, and was commencing the ascent on the 
other side, when six Indians, mounted on horses, came in sight of the 
top of the hill, and began to descend it. They did not discover me 
immediately, but as soon as they did, they halted on the side of the 
hill. I was sufficiently near to see that one of them carried in his hand 
a broadsword, with a bright metal scabbard, which glittered in the 
sunbeams. This Indian, the foremost of the party, was leading a 
horse. When he saw me he gave the horse in charge of another. I 
had very carelessly, in order to be unencumbered by weight, left my 
arms in the wagon, except my hatchet. I was now several miles dis- 
tant from our train and entirely concealed from them, and there was 
no probability of any of our party passing this way. Not liking the 
maneuvers of the Indians, or knowing what might be their designs, I 
never felt more regret for any misadventure, than for not bringing my 
gun and pistols with me. Ascertaining that my hatchet was in a right 
position for use, if necessary, I advanced up the hill to the place where 
the Indians had halted, and stopped. 

I ascertained that the party was composed of three men and three 
squaws. The men were armed with bows and arrows and tomahawks. 
The leader spoke to me in English, and said, "How do?" I replied and 
reciprocated the inquiry in the usual manner. He then asked, in his 
broken English, if there were more white men with me? I replied that 

6. John Steele, Across the Plains in 1850. Chicago, 1930. (Newberry 
Microfilm 3 — 10). Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by 
Louise Ridge — 3/46. Entry for Wednesday, June 12. 

7. Diary of James Frear, entry for May 20, 1852. 


there was a great number just behind. He nodded his head and looked 
at his companions with an expression of disappointed intelligence. I 
asked him if he was a Kansas? His reply was. "No — Sac'". I then 
passed, leaving them standing and apparently in earnest consultation. 
(Bryant shortly encountered a hunter from the train and they returned 
together.) 8 

The experience of Marion W. Battey (1852) ended happily for 
her because of the timely arrival of the rest of the party: 

Waity and myself started as usual before the trains were ready. We 
were walking leisurely along talking and gathering flowers when we 
noticed a horseman riding rapidly towards us from the bluffs, thinking 
him to be a hunter we pursued our way. As he came nearer we dis- 
covered to our dismay that it was an Indian, and also that we were out 
of sight of every wagon, man and mules in existence. The Indian 
rode directly in front of us and haulted so near us that his horse 
almost touched our bonnets. I ventured to look at him once, but met 
such a savage frightful stare from his piercing black eyes that I was 
glad to look anywhere else. At that moment the tops of our wagons 
appeared in sight. The Indian saw them and rode away as hastily as 
he came, and in the same direction another Indian on horseback that 
had not yet reached us turned at the same moment and they both soon 
disappeared among the bluffs. We were told by some emigrants that 
came along that we had just escaped from being carried off. What 
their intentions were we shall probably never know. 1 ' 

Traveling with a small party was sometimes as dangerous as 
wandering away from a large party. When and if trouble was 
encountered, the smaller group would, if possible, attempt to make 
contact with and join a party large enough to provide an effective 
defense. Celinda E. Hines (1853) tells of one such undersized 
party which lived to tell about their "brush" with the hostiles. 

Mon-Jul-18 — . . . In the P.M. Uncle G. went to find a camp. He 
came back with the report that there was trouble with the Indians 
ahead. The story went thus: Two packers from Oregon to the States 
were overtaken and followed by eight Indians, or people disguised as 
such, who tried to entice them away into a ravine by saying there were 
emigrants there who wished to see them. Being unsuccessful in their 
efforts they attempted to drive off one of their pack mules. One of 
the white men told them they must desist and stop following them. 
The Indians said they would not, and followed them for ten miles. 
One of the Indians drew a pistol. Which the white man saw and 
dexterously aiming his rifle, shot, but not till after the ball which the 
Indian shot grazed his breast. On firing, the packers saw the blood 
spurt from the Indian's side, and the other packers fired but they 
supposed without doubt that the first shot mortally wounded him. 
The Indians rode off and the packers came on and it was said that 
300 or more were in pursuit and people were going on as far as pos- 
sible to camp for fear of them. We camped near a small stream on a 

8. Edwin Bryant, What I Saw In California. Entry for May 17, 1846. 

9. Marion W. Battey, Scenes and Adventures of an Overland Journey to 
California, Beginning April 10, 1S52. Historic Landmarks Commission, 
City of San lose, 988 Franquette Avenue, San Jose, California, 95125. En- 
try for May 16, 1852. 


side hill, several camps being near, thinking if we were attacked we 
could all combine and resist it, as we supposed the Indians would take 
revenge on the emigrants. As we were among the Snakes, who were a 
blood thirsty nation. Soon after our stop these same packers came up 
and wished shelter and protection for the night. Some were in favor 
of retaining them and some were not, but Uncle concluded on the 
whole, as there were a number of women and children and few men 
in the train, it was best not to keep them, but had no objection to their 
remaining at either of the other camps if they were willing to keep 
them. It seemed the story was in the main true, except that there were 
not more than 12 in pursuit. Yet it was expected that the whole nation 
would soon be in arms. A camp near by kept the packers and all 
prepared to resist should an attack be made. . . . 

Tue-July-19 — We awoke pleasantly surprised to find ourselves so 
happy and that we had not been molested. Mr. Judson was well ac- 
quainted with one of the packers. He went in the same company 
when Mr. Judson crossed the plains two years ago. He says the packer 
is a fine man and would harm no one without provocation. Several of 
the emigrants saw the affray and justify the packers. They concluded 
to return with the emigrants, at least until they should meet others 
with whom they could join so as to make it safe to proceed. Indians 
came around in the morning (tr)ying to find out where they were, 
and soon after starting others came up. . . . saw one of the packers. 
He appeared rather disconsolate, but fearless and very pretty. . . . 
Camped near a beautiful fir tree grove on the top of the Green River 
Mountain. The Company in which the two men had taken refuge was 
near us. . . . 

Wed-July-20 — . . . Camped near Bear River. Some two Indians 
came to camp and peeked into the wagons to see if the two men were 
there. Soon after, and while they were there, a trader came. After 
they went away he told us that the Indians would not tell him what 
they were around for, but that doubtless they were spies and that their 
object was to kill these men if they could find them. He also said 
that Indians were coming together from different parts and that they 
were numerous. As two or three tribes had joined together and that 
they would visit every train, as they had understood they were return- 
ing, until they found them, and that anyone in the tribe would know 
them if they should see them. We knew not whether the trader was 
sincere or whether he was trying to get some information. The pack- 
ers camped near. 

Fri-Jul — 22 — . . . A Company of Packers came along and we ascer- 
tained that the two fugatives had joined them and as the company is 
large we think they are out of danger. . . . 10 

It is clear that plains Indians normally did not openly attack a 
party of substantial size. Sometimes, however, a large band might 
attempt to overawe a wagon train. Charles Ferguson (1850) gives 
an eyewitness account of one such hostile demonstration: 

The day after visiting Chimney Rock, about ten in the morning, we 

10. "Diary of Celinda E. Hines (Afterwards Mrs. H. R. Shipley) 1853." 
As copied from the Transactions of the Forty-Sixth Annual Reunion of the 
Oregon Pioneer Association, Portland, June 20, 1918. Entries for July 18, 
19, 20 and 22. 


were surprised by a band of Crow Indians, who came riding down 
from the northern hills at full speed. There must have been seventy- 
five or eighty of them. They came within about four hundred yards 
of us; then suddenly wheeled their horses and rode around us two or 
three times, at the same time going through many of their warlike 
motions, drawing their bows as if to send an arrow. Some would ride 
down furiously close to us, as if they were going straight through us, 
then suddenly turn and ride back, turning in their saddles and feigning 
to shoot, and finally return to their party, which had been watching 
their movements with apparently as much interest as we had been, 
which was not a little. We expected an attack and closed up our 
teams as close as possible, but still kept on the move. (No actual 
attack was reported.) 11 

Thomas Flint's party experienced a much more direct attempt by 
Indians to intimidate a train for the purpose of extracting plunder. 
Flint and his companions were one day's journey below the Platte 
River Bridge. 

After dinner we drove along until about 3 o'clock with the wagons 
some distance in the lead, while I was a little in advance of them as 
usual when I saw a deer ahead and to the right of the trail. Taking a 
double-barreled shotgun loaded with revolver bullets I swung off to 
try for a shot, but I was discovered by the animal and it soon was out 
of sight. I returned to the road some half a mile or so ahead of the 
wagons and as I was crossing a little elevation I caught a glimpse of a 
party of Indians moving through a patch of willow bushes not quite as 
high as their heads. In an instant and all together they dropped out 
of sight. There was time however to see that they were moving camp, 
and Indians, squaws and papooses did not make a rustle even. I re- 
mained at my point of observation thinking they would emerge from 
the brush which came up to the road. The squaws and young ones did 
not show up, but I think slipped away down the bed of a small stream 
which was close by. 

Presently an old one-eyed mean looking cuss of an Indian with a boy 
of 15 or 16 years, came up on horseback from quite a different direc- 
tion from where I had discovered them at first and taking positions 
each side of me — the boy calling the old one Captain with a motion 
of his hand towards me as if by way of an introduction. The Captain 
was armed with a flint lock old English musket and the young one 
with bow and arrows. The Captain pointing to my Navy pistol said 
pop, pop, pop. I nodded in the affirmative. I knew the advantage 
was on my side with a six shooter and double-barreled gun and per- 
cussion cups. The young scamp commenced to draw up his bow with 
an arrow intimidatingly — each time a little stronger until I thought it 
was high time it was stopped lest he might let fly at me. I was more 
afraid of the arrow than of the musket — therefore mentally decided 
that if the motion was made again I would shoot him but made no 
demonstration or motion to use my revolver whereupon the boy 
meekly dropped his bow and arrow down by his side. The old Indian 
moved a little higher up the hill and holding his musket a few seconds 
at "present arms" brought it down and put some powder into the pan 
of the lock. I made some signs to Ben and Lewell who were some 

11. Chas. D. Ferguson, Experiences of a Forty-niner. Cleveland, 1888. 
(Newberry Microfilm 4 — 1). Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Tran- 
scribed by Louise Ridge — 1/46. p. 3. 


distance behind with the men with the sheep when the Captain and 
boy started to meet them. 

When the wagons arrived I told them to drive to a level place nearly 
opposite the brush where the Indian party was seen and stop for the 
arrival of the rest of the men with the sheep. Soon after halting an 
half dozen Indians bounced out of the brush and commenced to pillage 
the wagons. 

The teamsters Johnson, Palmer and H. Jennings were scared out of 
their wits and offered no resistance but Mrs. Johnson went after their 
hands with a hatchet when they went to help themselves to things in 
her wagon. 

I found it was necessary for me to put on airs, so went to the wagons 
scolding the teamsters and ordering the Indians by signs to put every- 
thing back they had taken from the wagons. They were sulky and one 
of them taking an ox yoke bow he had taken by the ends made a 
motion to strike me with it whereupon I brought my pistol to bear 
upon him with the intention of shooting when he dropped the bow 
and every one of them got off to the opposite side of their horses. 
Then I knew that I was master of the situation. Furthermore I knew 
they were not prepared for a fight as if they were, they would not have 
their squaws and papooses along with them. We waited until the men 
with the sheep came up to us and got all of us around for it being a 
warm day the men had put their weapons into the wagons excepting 
Ben and Lewell. who from my signals surmised something was wrong; 
when my first two Indians approached them they put their pistols 
under their clothing with just a little of them in sight. The other men 
did the same with their clothing but had no weapons yet the Indians 
supposed they had, probably. 

After we were all armed I felt better able to manage affairs, though 
I knew by the experience that four of our party could not be depended 
upon in a fight. 

Two more Indians joined those already present — one of them with 
a certificate that they were Good Indians. It was written in faultless 
penmanship expressing the hope we would treat them well so we gave 
them some hardtack and a sheep that was lame. They did not seem 

After we had got our train in close order we told the boys to start 
ahead; as they moved the old one-eyed Captain said to his Indians in 
Spanish that they would not let us go until they had the black cow and 
the sheep that had bells on, and told his boy to go ahead and stop us. 
The boy started and when nearly ahead we told him in Spanish to 
come back. As he started to obey the command the old one-eyed cap- 
tain called him derisively a boy and said he would stop the train until 
they had what they wanted. He started and when part way round we 
levelled our rifles on him and told him to come back; he hesitated a 
little but came back to where the other Indians were. 

As we were moving on the old Captain got down on one knee and 
levelled his gun at us which frightened two of our men so, they ran 
for shelter, much to the delight of the Indians. Just at that time a 
report came that the black cow was missing. Supposing the Indians 
had slipped out of the brush and cut her out we made a rush for the 
Indian when they rushed into the brush for shelter. Then it was our 
turn to laugh as the cow was only a little way off when found brows- 
ing. The Indians were very greatly surprised when they found we 
could use the Spanish language. We found that they were a hunting 
and marauding party of Arapahoes from Texas .... In the party we 
learned there were about 90 young and old. 

We drove some six miles and camped on a round knoll away from 


brush and gulches with the stock all around us, for our men could see 
Indians everywhere. r - 

Emigrants frequently did not encounter hostile Indians in per- 
son; nonetheless, other evidence of potential trouble many times 
was heard or seen. Both G. W. Thissel (1850) and Enoch W. 
Conyers ( 1852) bear witness. The latter, on May 28, wrote in his 
diary, "Friday — After lunch we came eight miles and camped on 
Plum Creek. Here we found the charred remains of a mission 
house, burned by some Indians, perhaps three or four weeks before 
we came along." 1 " 

The evidence observed by Mr. Thissel was even more direct. 
"We camped on Platte River (about five days below Fort Laramie). 
The day was cold and gray, and a gloomy one for all of us. We 
found a man dead in the river, lodged against a drift. We dug a 
grave by the water's edge, and with long poles we rolled him in." 

"Two Indian arrows still remained in his body to show the cause 
of death. There was nothing to tell who he was except a small 
Testament in his pocket, in which was written, 'Robert Vancleave, 
Bellefontaine, Iowa'." 14 

One of the major sources of information concerning "Indian 
depredations" was, of course, reports and accounts of attacks re- 
ceived second hand. Jesse Quinn Thornton (1846) was camped 
near Fort Laramie when "Between 1 and 1 1 o'clock intelligence 
came to our little camp that a large body of emigrants had arrived 
at Fort Laramie, after one of their number, a Mr. Trimble, had 
been killed by the Pawnees; and that a large number of Sioux 
Indians would probably arrive at our camp during the day. This 
determined us to break up camp without delay. . . ." 15 

The following excerpts from three diaries further illustrate the 
type of reports of Indian hostility common along the trail. They, 
together with the quotation from the Thornton diary, also point 
up the position of central importance occupied by Fort Laramie as 
a "guardian of the Oregon Trail." 

(Two days from the Big Blue River) Yesterday we met two United 
States dragoons. They report some Indian depredations in advance of 
us. One is that a family has been massacred by the Indians, and that 

12. Thomas Flint, Diary. Los Angeles, 1923. (Newberry Microfilm 
2 — 25.) Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by Louise Ridge — 
12/45. Entry for Thursday 28th (July, 1853). 

13. "Diary of E. W. Conyers, A Pioneer of 1852." As copied from the 
Transactions of the Thirty -Third Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer 
Association, June 15, 1905. Entry for May 28, 1852. 

14. G. W. Thissel, Crossing the Plains in '49. Oakland, 1903. (New- 
berry Microfilm 3 — 8). Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by 
Louise Ridge — 3/46. Entry for June 15, 1850. 

15. J. Quinn Thornton, Oregon and California in 1848. New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1864. Entry for June 30, 1846. 


the iroops from the Fort Laramie had pursued the murderers and put 
one hundred to death. 1 *> 

(Four days beyond Fort Laramie) News came this evening that a 
husband, wife and two children were murdered on Monday the 20th 
near the Fort (Laramie) on south side of Platte River. The alarm was 
given at the Fort, the soldiers came and killed one Indian, wounded 
one. There were four in the company. They took the dead bodies 
and the team to the Fort. 17 

Came opposite Fort Laramie about noon. ... At the fort they 
learned that an affray had taken place between the soldiers and In- 
dians, in which a number of the latter were killed, in consequence of 
which they had gone into the hills in large companies for the purpose 
of revenging themselves on the emigrants. Deeming it more safe to go 
in large companies, six wagons have tonight attached themselves to our 
company, which makes us number 16 wagons. 18 

The figures concerning Indian attacks, cited earlier, do not re- 
flect the sole, or even the primary, danger from Indians along the 
Oregon-California Trail. Many, and probably most, of the attacks 
previously mentioned were undoubtedly motivated by hope of 
plunder. In addition, twenty-seven other cases of theft or attempt- 
ed theft are recorded in the sixty-six diaries. Of these, nineteen 
are eyewitness accounts and eight are based on reports received by 
the authors of the various diaries. It should also be noted that ten 
of the eyewitness accounts describe unsuccessful attempts at theft. 
Thus, while loss by theft was not inevitable, it seems that more than 
one out of every three parties was very likely to receive the 
attention of a raiding party. 

A vigilant guard afforded the best protection for stock. In most 
instances, a small raiding party would at least temporarily abandon 
their efforts upon discovery. For example, Virgil Pringle (1846) 
reported that, on the night of May 17, he and his party "Encamped 
. . . near a Caw Village, Mr. Barnard while on guard caught one 
attempting to steal our stock." 19 

Similar reports are found in the diaries of Orson Pratt (1847) 
and Mrs. Maria A. Belshaw (1853). Mr. Pratt's party had just 
passed the fork of the Platte when he wrote : 

16. C. W. Smith, Journal of a Trip to California: Across the Continent 
From Weston, Mo., to Weber Creek, Cal. In the Summer of 1850. Edited 
by R. W. G. Vail. The Cadmus Book Shop, New York; Press: Standard 
Book Company, Manchester, N. H. Entry for April 30, 1850. 

17. "Diary Kept By Mrs. Maria A. (Parsons) Belshaw". Copied from 
New Spain and the Anglo-American West by Herbert Eugene Bolton, pp. 
219-243 inclusive. Copied by Devere Helfrich, March 8, 1950. Entry for 
June 22, 1853. 

18. Mrs. Velina A. Williams, "Diary of a Trip Across the Plains in 1853." 
Copied from the Transactions of the Forty-Seventh Annual Reunion of the 
Oregon Pioneer Association, Portland, June 19, 1919. Portland, Oregon: 
Chausse-Prudhomme Co., Printers, 1922. Entry for July 1, 1853. 

19. "Diary of Virgil K. Pringle, 1846." As copied from the Transactions 
of the Fortv-eighth Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Association. 
Portland, July 1, 1920. Entry for Sunday, May 17. 


Indians have discovered our camp, and are lurking around for the 
purpose of stealing our horses: during the night, one was perceived by 
the guard creeping towards the camp upon his hands and feet: he was 
fired upon, and immediately arose and ran. 20 

The party with which Mrs. Belshaw was traveling crossed the 
Missouri River at Council Bluffs on May 15, 1853. On May 16, 
Mrs. Belshaw noted in her diary, "Last night five Indians came into 
our drove of cattle and started out six of the cattle, but the guard 
saw them and ran them off, saw six more today." 21 

Sometimes attempted thefts were thwarted in a more spectacular 
fashion. Samual Parker ( 1 845 ) and some of his companions twice 
chased Indians and thus recovered stolen stock.-- Both incidents 
occurred in eastern Nebraska. The outcome may not have been so 
successful had pursuit been attempted against some of the tribes 
further west. 

William Johnston's party (1849) employed an even more un- 
usual technique in forestalling a loss of stock: 

Just after camping a band of Pottawatomie Indians on horseback 
came in sight, driving a herd of horses. Seeing their intention was to 
make a dash through our animals, and cause a stampede, we took 
measures to prevent this. A number of our men were sent out beyond 
the picket lines, and as the besiegers came up, their loose stock was 
sent flying in every conceivable direction over the plains. The Indians 
having now sufficient work in collecting their own affrighted animals, 
they gave us no further annoyance. 2 ^ 

A number of diaries note the loss of stock to Indians with no 
mention of, or only cursory comment, about any ensuing clash. 
Camped on Plum Creek, Richard Thomas Ackley (1858) reported, 
"A lot of discharged soldiers from Fort Bridger, Utah Territory, 
camped also close by for the night. Some Indians stole their mules 

20. "Interesting Items Concerning the Journeying of the Latter-Day 
Saints From the City of Nauvoo, Until Their Location In the Valley of The 
Great Salt Lake. (Extracted from the Private Journal of Orson Pratt)." 
The Latter-Day Saints Millenial Star, March 1, 1850. Entry for May 14, 

21. Diary of Mrs. Maria A. (Parsons) Belshaw, op. cit., entry for May 
16, 1853. Further west, where buffalo were to be had, Indians did not 
consider cattle worth stealing. Edwin Bryant, on June 6, 1846, wrote: 
"Until last night the oxen have been driven into the corral at 8 o'clock to 
guard against Indian thefts; but now that we have approached so near the 
buffalo region, where cattle are of no value in the estimation of the savages, 
this practice has been discontinued." Likewise, William Chandless noted in 
1855, "our cattle were across the river, unguarded, as Indians seldom touch 
them, preferring buffalo;" 

22. "Diary of Samual Parker." This copy is an exact duplicate of the 
typed copy in the possession of the Oregon Historical Society. Entries for 
May 22 and May 29. 

23. Wm. T. Johnston, Experiences of a Forty -Niner. Pittsburgh, 1892. 
Microfilmed 7-17-42 by the Library of Congress Photoduplication Service. 
Entry for Thursday, May 3d, p. 67. 


and they were obliged to send some men into Fort Kearney after 
fresh mules."- 4 The party of William Chandless (1855) was itself 
victimized: "We remained at the same camp two nights, and — ■ 
what we little expected, while so near Laramie — were victims to 
Indians; almost all the mules being cut loose, and two or three 
finally stolen: one Indian was fired at without effect."--"' Of the 
numerous emigrants who either witnessed or heard of the loss of 
stock, Mrs. Velina Williams (1853) expressed the most unusual 
opinion. After writing in her diary that Pawnees had killed several 
oxen belonging to another train, she appended the comment, 
"They no doubt gave the Indians some cause for committing the 
outrage." 26 

It was not unusual for stock to disappear with Indian "sign" 
being subsequently discovered. Plains Indians were capable of 
raiding tactics which should be the envy of any modern fighting 
unit. For example, John Ball (1832) reported that Indians raided 
his camp about midnight. No Indians were found after the camp 
was alerted, but "a dozen of our best horses" were gone. "They 
were supposed to be 'Blackfeet'."- 7 William Chandless had a 
similar experience: 

About an hour before dawn, the time always chosen by Indians, 
who expect then to find sentinels tired out and asleep, all the tethered 
mules became restless, snorted violently, and finally struggled and 
broke loose, and, with the rest, galloped off; we went forward to the 
bank, which was four or five feet high, and on the soft mud we found 
fresh mocassin prints up to within fifty yards of the nearest mule, and 
then turning back: but there were copses of wood near, and we could 
see nothing of the Indians. 28 

There were times when a group of emigrants would virtually 
invite a visit from any interested parties in the vicinity. The train 
to which Dr. Benjamin Cory (1847) belonged is a case in point. 
Somewhere between Green River and Bear River, he wrote, "Last 
night the Indians stole a fine mare from us. We had no guard. 
They v/ould have taken all if Mr. Kester had not heard the mare 
trot off. He halloed and scared the thiefs so bad they left three 

24. Richard Thomas Ackley, "Across the Plains in 1858." Utah Histor- 
ical Quarterly. July, October, 1941. Entry for Wednesday, July 7, 1858, 
p. 195. 

25. William Chandless, Visit to Salt Lake. London, 1857. (Newberry 
Microfilm 2 — 17). Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by 
Louise Ridge — 12/45. Entry for September 11th. 

26. Mrs. Velina A. Williams, op. cit., entry for May 24. 

27. "Across the Continent Seventy Years Ago. Extracts from the journal 
of John Ball of his trip across the Rocky Mountains, and his life in Oregon, 
compiled by his daughter." Copied from the Oregon Historical Quarterly, 
Vol. Ill, No. 1, by Devere Helfrich. Entry for July 2. 

28. William Chandless, op. cit., entry for Sept, 16th, Sunday. 


ponies behind. We secured them. A party followed the Indians 
this morning. Kept us all day in camp waiting for them/'- 9 

If Indian raiders were frequently rather difficult to find, there 
were also occasions when they chose to make their presence more 
than manifest. ( Thomas Flint encountered a group of Mormons 
who could testify to the fact. 

(One day beyond the Platte River Bridge) Supplied some Mormon 
families with provisions to take them to Salt Lake City, they having 
been robbed by the Good Indians. 5 families of foreigners, mostly 
English. The women said they were prodded with arrows to make 
them hurry up the cooking for them. 30 

While stolen stock normally had to be written off, the Reverend 
E. E. Parrish (1844) recorded an exception: 

Heard from the detachment of soldiers who went after the Indians. 
They proved successful in their search and found four oxen and two 
cows. Killed by the Indians, the agent replaced them by giving as 
many instead. The Horses were found by G. Gilliam, but not in 
possession of the Indians. 31 

John Bidwell (1841) describes another exception, one with 
distinctly humorous overtones. 

Half past six this morning saw us on the march, the valley of the 
river (Platte) was here about 4 miles wide, antelope were seen in abun- 
dance — a young man was out hunting, when suddenly a band of Chi- 
enne (Cheyenne) Indians about 40 in number came upon him; they were 
pleased to strip him of his mule, gun and pistol, and let him go. He 
had no sooner reached the camp and related the news than the whole 
band, came in sight; We hastened to form a Carral with our waggons, 
but it was done in great haste. To show you how it effected the green 
ones, I will give the answer I received from a stout young man, and 
he perhaps was but one of 30 in the same situation, when I asked him, 
how many indians there were? he answered with trembling voice, half 
scared out of his wits, there were lots, gaubs, fields and swarms of 
them!!! I do really believe he thought there were some thousands, lo! 
there were but 40, perfectly friendly, delivered up every article taken, 
but the Pistol. 32 

Joseph Williams also describes this incident, but he attributed it 
to Sioux Indians. He added the information that "Captain Fitz- 
patrick then went to them, and talked with them, for he was 
acquainted with them. They then gave back all that they had taken 

29. Diary of Dr. Benjamin Cory, Crossing the Plains. Entry for July 8. 

30. Thomas Flint, op. cit., entry for Saturday, July, 30th. 

31. "Crossing the Plains in 1844, Diary of Rev. Edward Evans Parrish." 
Copied from the Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association, Sixteenth 
Annual Reunion. Portland, Oregon, June 15, 1888. Himes Printer, Port- 
land, Oregon. Entry for Thursday, May 23. 

32. John Bidwell, A Journey to California. (Newberry Microfilm 1 — 12). 
Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by Louise Ridge 1/46. 
Retyped — R. Mackrill — 1963. Entry for Friday, June 4, 1841. 


from the young man, and our men gave them some tobacco, and 
they smoked the pipe of peace. " 3:! 

According to Dale Morgan "The Cheyennes had intended the 
man, Dawson, no harm, but so apoplectic had he looked that they 
had disarmed him to keep him from shooting someone." Hence- 
forth the unfortunate Mr. Dawson was not allowed to forget 
the incident as the party promptly nicknamed him "Cheyenne" 
Dawson. 34 

William Chandless furnishes a bit of proof that the problem of 
theft did not always derive from Indians. A group of soldiers had 
accompanied the emigrants as far as the Platte River Bridge: "At 
the 'Last Crossing' (of the North Platte), our escort left us, and 
turned aside to the 'bridge\ and we saw them no more; unfor- 
tunately, not having anticipated this move, we lost some public and 
private chattels lent to the soldiers." 35 ") 

No discussion of the threat of Indian theft is complete without 
some specific mention of the tribe called "Absaroka", or Crow. 
They were as talented a band of brigands as any, but they some- 
times displayed a brand of humor along with an enforced dispos- 
session of property. William Johnston and Charles Ferguson each 
tell of an illustrative incident: 

The Crows, T imagine, notwithstanding the taciturnity of the Indian 
character, of which they probably have their due share, relish a joke, 
and they are fond, too, of a horse trade, when the advantages are 
wholly on their side; and however much they like to steal horses, they 
at times exhibit some degree of humanity, even to their natural foe 
the white man, rather than leave him wholly desolate, without some 
means of locomotion. I have a case in point. Recently a band of 
Crows captured an emigrant whom I happened to know, as he was one 
of a party who for a time traveled with us. Wandering too far from 
camp resulted in this misfortune. He rode a fine animal from which 
they made him dismount. They then relieved him of various incum- 
brances, including the clothes he wore, watch, pocketbook, gun, etc., 
and setting him upon an old, worn out, limping nag, with a wild whoop 
which he mistook for his death knell, they sent him back to his friends, 
who received him with shouts of laughter scarce more relished than 
the cry of the savages which still rang in his ears. 3 * 5 

While we were at Laramie, we learned that a few days before our 
arrival a soldier had stolen the colonel's horse and struck out for 
California. It was a valuable one, worth about one hundred and sev- 
enty-five dollars. We thought strange the colonel did not have him 

33. Joseph Williams, Narrative of A Tour, Cincinnati, 1843. (Newberry 
Microfilm 2 — 12). Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed by 
Louise Ridge — 12/45. Re-typed by R. Mackrill — 1963. Entry for Monday, 
May 31, 1841. Williams had a low opinion of Fitzpatrick, describing him 
as "a wicked, worldly man, . . . much opposed to missionaries going among 
the Indians. He has some intelligence, but is deistical in his principles." 

34. Dale L. Morgan, The Humboldt, Highroad of the West. N. Y.: Far- 
rar & Rinehart, Inc., 1943. p. 66. 

35. William Chandless, op. cit., entry for Sunday, Sept. 16th. 

36. Wm. G. Johnston, op. cit., pp. 133-134. 


pursued, but he said, "Let him go, it won't be long before he will be 
back.' When we had camped, on the evening of the second day out 
from Laramie, we saw at some distance a solitary horseman, coming 
on a little diminutive brute of a horse. We watched him for some 
time, totally befogged as to who or what he was. He didn't look like 
an Indian, although he had a buffalo robe around him. The mystery 
was solved when he rode up and got off — it was a white man. Except 
for the buffalo robe, he was naked as he was born. He proved to be 
the soldier that had stolen the colonel's horse. He had rode him. he 
said, about a hundred miles the first twenty-four hours, and tied up for 
a few hours to give him a rest, and again started and rode him until 
the next night, when a band of Crows came down on him and took his 
provisions, every stitch of his clothing, and his horse, saddle and bridle, 
gave him the buffalo rug, some jerked buffalo meat and the poorest 
pony they had and told him to go back. This with the Crows is not 
deemed robbing or stealing, but a pure business transaction, not unlike, 
though in a humbler degree, a modern Wall street operation, though in 
the latter instance, the winning party rarely contributes even a blanket 
to cover the nakedness of the party fleeced. The Crows call it swap- 
ping. They say the Sioux are mean and will steal — but Crows, 'they 
good Indian, they swap.' When they swap, they are pretty sure to get 
the best of the bargain, especially when they have an opportunity to 
corner the market, as they did when they dealt with the Laramie 
soldier. 37 

Accounts of this type led William Chandless to write, ''Crows 
never kill a white man, and if they find him in want will give him 
food, but they will strip him of all superfluities if they can: in 
summer leave him no clothes or blanket, and in winter one and 
his shirt perhaps, but they would not attack in a body." 38 Even 
before the mass migration of whites, the Crows had established this 
part of their reputation. On September 5, 1833, they robbed 
Thomas Fitzpatrick and Captain Stewart: "The Crows took all his 
animals but returned inferior ones in their stead and returned 2 
sacks Coffee and some Chocolate — About half their Traps and all 
the Guns but one. . . ," 39 

It should be noted, however, that even Crows did not always 
"swap" for stolen property. One day beyond Devil's Gate, William 
Johnston found a note by the roadside. Written the day before, 
this communication informed its reader that four men of the Dela- 
ware Mining Company had lost two mules and one pack to the 
Crows. The next day, June 8, 1849, Johnston's party caught up 
with the men who had been attacked: 

We gained from them the further information that twelve Crows 
approached them whilst they were nooning, and making the usual sign 
of peace — throwing down their little hatchets and folding their arms — 
they allowed them to come near. Presently twenty others rode in, and 

37. Chas. D. Ferguson, op. cit., p. A. 

38. William Chandless, op. cit., p. 10. 

39. Quoted in Dale L. Morgan and Eleanor Towles Harris, The Rocky 
Mountain Journals of William Marshall Anderson, The West In 1843, The 
Huntington Library-San Marino, California, 1967. p. 303. 


now completely overpowered, the robbery took place as cooly as pos- 
sible, for against such a force resistance was impossible. One man, an 
Irishman, did kick one of the plunderers as he turned to leave; but it 
is likely he was careful not to kick too hard. Among the Crows was a 
while man who appeared to be their leader; doubtless some outlaw, 
who, having escaped the clutches of law, finds exercise for his talents 
and congenial companionship among these thievish savages. 40 

With increasing frequency after 1840, emigrant trains encoun- 
tered Indians demanding a toll payment. Sometimes this payment 
was "requested" for the privilege of crossing their land; more fre- 
quently, passage across a bridge was involved. The diaries of 
Jacob Snyder (1845) and Marion Battey (1852) illustrate the first 
of these two types of demands. 

Fine weather. Started at 6 o'clock. About 10 met 2 Caws, and 
shortly after came in sight of their village. We were detained about 7 
hours having a talk with them. They always demand something as 
tribute for passing through their country. This habit has been fostered 
by the Emigrants that have passed through this country previously, 
whose fears being excited were willing to give anything to be allowed 
to proceed. We gave them a calf and the Chief was willing to accept 
it, but some of the tribe insisted on having bacon and flour. Finally 
the chief prevailed and we passed on; there is no danger to be appre- 
hended only the annoyance. 41 

Saw a number of Indians. Had to pay them fifty cents per wagon 
for travelling over their land. Camped early four miles beyond the 
Indian Mission. 42 

By no means did emigrants always accede to Indian demands for 
toll payments. In the sixty-six diaries under consideration, twelve 
instances in which toll was demanded are reported. In eight cases 
the toll was paid; in four cases it was not. During the 1840's and 
1850's, most of the toll demands were made in what is now eastern 
Nebraska and Kansas. Eleven of the twelve demands reported 
occurred no further west than Elkhorn Creek. 

Bridge tolls were, as noted above, more frequently levied. If 
payment was made at all, the precise amount varied considerably. 
Nathaniee Myer (1853) "saw several poor Indians at a slough 
demanding toll for a temporary bridge they made, we paid them 
500 for the whole train." 43 In the same year, Mrs. Velina Wil- 
liams' party crossed the Missouri on May 20. The same day Mrs. 
Williams wrote, "Over a small stream some five miles from the 

40. Wm. G. Johnston, op. cit., entries for Thursday, June 7th and Friday, 
June 8th; pp. 140-142. 

41. "The Diary of Jacob R. Snyder, Written while crossing the plains to 
California in 1845." From the Quarterly of the Society of California 
Pioneers. Dec, 1931. Vol. VIII, Number 4. Entry for Wednesday (May) 

42. Marion W. Battey, op. cit., entry for May 16th. 

43. "Copy of the Diary of Nathaniee Myer, Crossing the plains in 1853.** 
Entry for May 7. 


river is a bridge said to be kept in repair by the Indians, where we 
were required to pay toll. Acting upon the peace principles, David 
paid them 950. " 44 The train with which Phoebe Judson traveled 
was assessed a tolLof six dollars per wagon to use the "Mormon 
ferry" in central Wyoming. The price was considered to be quite 
high, but Mrs. Judson suggested one reason why most emigrants 

Some of the trains refused to pay so exorbitant a price, but paid 
more dearly in the end, by having their stock stolen from them by the 
Indians, who no doubt were instigated by the owners of the bridge, 
through a spirit of revenge. 45 \ 

In instances such as that described by Mrs. Judson, a dangerous 
situation could develop out of a refusal to pay. John S. Zeiber 
(1851), however, demonstrated that quick thinking, fast talking 
and a careful falsifying of facts could be more effective than resort 
to arms. A number of Indians had solicited "gifts" from the party, 
and then proceeded as if they would oppose any effort by the 
emigrants to bridge a small creek unless further presents were 

. . . Indians approaching from all quarters, and their chiefs and a 
number of warriors and head men came forward to block up the way 
to the site of the old bridge, which had been swept away by the flood. 
The Capt. called the Com. of whom he was one-third, to know how we 
should proceed. No one suggested or could think of doing anything 
but to make the presents. I told them if they would trust me, I'd fix 
the matter. It was agreed to, I went to my buggy, got Fremont's 
lournal, took the large map out of the pocket and placed it outside, 
under my thumb. Then my pencil in my right. I told Captain to go 
with me. Our men hung around to see what would be done, I went to 
the site of the old bridge, ordered the men to proceed with their axes, 
cut puncheons, replace the old stringers, etc. and acted the commander 
most imperatively. The work commenced bravely. The Chief touched 
me on the shoulder again and again and began parlying. I kept advis- 
ing the men till they knew their places, which they did in a short time, 
when I turned to the Chief, etc., and asked them who was their head 
chief. He was placed before he and the braves circled around me and 
the Captain with their tomahawks, swords, gun and bows and arrows. 
I was unarmed and in my sleeves. I tapped on the map and book with 
my pencil, told them that we had authority by treaty stipulation to pass 
through this country. That here was the documents from Washington. 
Opened the map, showed the entry on the map of their name, which a 
few people knew when they saw it. Told I was now taking these 
people to Oregon. It was our great father's pleasure that they should 
go. We were friends and they must not interrupt us and we desired 
nothing but peace and friendship. They gave their hands, touched 
their breasts, again gave their hands, said I was good and made signs, 
that we might all go in peace. By this time, however, the bridge was 

44. Mrs. Velina A. Williams, op. cit., entry for May 20. 

45. Phoebe G. Judson, A Pioneer's Search. Bellingham, 1925. (New- 
berry Microfilm 2 — 30). Compiled by M. J. Mattes — 1945. Transcribed 
by Louise Ridge — 12/45. 


nearly half built. We soon crossed, .... Before we left the Captain 
went round and gathered a quantity of tobacco which was presented 
to the first chief and they all gave us goodbye, shaking hands in a most 
friendly manner. 4,; 

Although most emigrants, if the figures derived from these 
diaries are reasonably accurate for all parties, made the trip without 
experiencing major difficulty with die Indians, the stories of "In- 
dian depredations" flourished all along the trail. Several reasons 
probably account for this. Those who did encounter hostile Indians 
were usually not at all reluctant to describe their adventures after- 
wards. On some occasions a degree of embellishment added to 
the flavor of the story, the reputation of the teller and to the 
listener's assumptions concerning the threat of Indian attack. 
Newspaper accounts also did their part. Information concerning 
the "adventures" of emigrants was duly reported, but parties which 
had been subject to attack were normally given a more complete 
and more colorful "write-up" than were those whose trip had been 
uneventful. 47 Finally, it must be noted that some stories concern- 
ing Indian attacks were lies from beginning to end. How many 
stories were thus originated will never be known. William G. 
Johnston, however, did furnish one specific example. 

Two of our men, who to-day started in search of the mule whicli 
strayed off on Thursday last, were fortunate in finding it with one of 
the trains following in our wake. From those with whom it was found 
they learned of a notice which had been posted on the road, giving an 
account of an attack which had been made upon our company by the 
Crows, in which two of our number had been killed and nine mules 
stolen. This worse than senseless rumor, set afloat, it is thought, by 
some one belonging to our train, meets the scorn and contempt it 
deserves, and its author, if detected, might encounter something worse. 
If intended to alarm emigrants, or whatever its designs, it betrays a 
spirit of recklessness highly reprehensible. 4S 

It is not surprising that most emigrants starting their westward 
trek firmly expected to be met by hostile Indians. With some 
considerable frequency, such expectations had a predictable effect. 
All manner of things were mistaken for Indians — large rocks, 
sheep, mules, blankets, other members of the party and, on one 
occasion, the United States Cavalry. Joel Palmer even reported 
one alarm which was apparently given to break up an election in 
progress. The following excerpts fully illustrate the problems 
caused by an over-active imagination. 

46. "Diary of John S. Zeiber, 1851." As copied from the Transactions 
of the Forty-eighth Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Association, 
Portland, July 1, 1920. Entry for Monday, June 9. 

47. Contemporary news accounts, for the same general reasons, give 
more coverage to those involved in traffic accidents than is given to safe 

48. Wm. G. Johnston, op. cit., entry for Sunday, June 3. 


During the night, a mule belonging to a Mr. Risley, of our company, 
broke from its tether, and in attempting to secure it, its owner was 
repeatedly shot at by the guard; but, fortunately, was not hit. He had 
run from his tent without having been perceived by the guard, and was 
crawling over the ground, endeavoring to seize the tail rope, which was 
tied to his mule's neck. The guard mistook him for an Indian, trying 
to steal horses, and called to him several times; but a high wind 
blowing he did not hear. The guard, leveled and fired, but his gun 
did not go off. Another guard, standing near, presented his piece and 
fired; the cap burst, without discharging the load. The first guard, by 
this time prepared, fired a second time without effect. By this time the 
camp was roused and nearly all seized their fire-arms, when we dis- 
covered that the supposed Indian was one of our own party. We re- 
garded it as providential that the man escaped, as the guard was a 
good shot, and his mark was not more than eighty yards distant. This 
incident made us somewhat more cautious about leaving camp, with- 
out notifying the guard. 49 

One guard, 'A timid Yankee*, frequently alerted the guard whenever 
a mule cocked its ears — a sign man or animal was about. This day the 
intruder was a coyote. 50 

One of the party who watched tonight thought he saw an Indian 
trying to steal our mules & as he was some cowardly he gave the alarm, 
I went with him to see the Indian & found it to be a large stone. 51 

Mr. Jennings gave us a scare on his guard by shooting at what he 
supposed to be an Indian creeping into camp, but it proved to be a 
sheep that had strayed. It was a good long shot but he hit his mark 
and killed the sheep. 52 

Landon, of our mess, crossed the water, and made for the battlefield 
(the Harney battle near Ash Hollow had taken place two days before). 
A good many wolves and ravens were still at work, though most of the 
bodies had been already picked clean. L. started on his return with a 
large bag of buffalo meat that must have escaped notice previously, 
but when half-way to camp was fired at by a soldier, who took him for 
an Indian from his dusty face, which he might as well have washed 
when crossing the river. L., having the sun in his eyes, could not see 
plainly, and also took the soldier for an Indian, and dropping the buf- 
falo meat, ran for his life. The soldier had no time to reload, but ran 
too, each believing the other wanted to cut him off from camp; at 
last they came nearer and found out their mistake. The soldier was 
a good deal laughed at by his comrades, but L. lost his buffalo meat. 53 

There had, on previous nights, been several false alarms of Indians, 
but never on our nights. Once the whole camp were called up: I knew 
it was false and lay still to be scalped. One of the guard dropped his 
blanket in a panic, but taking courage went forward to look for it, and 
fired thrice into it; those, who like myself had not turned out, thought 
the whole thing a good joke. 54 

Camped opposite Grand Island for dinner. ... At our camp in the 
evening which was on the Platte. I was standing second watch when 
I thought I saw an Indian approaching, so I woke the boys very care- 

49. Joel Palmer, "Journal of Travels Over the Rocky Mountains 1845- 
1846." Entry for June 10. 

50. Wm. G. Johnston, op. cit., entry for Wednesday, May 9th. 

51. "Diary of James Frear 1852." 

52. Thomas Flint, op. cit., entry for Sunday, July 31st. 

53. William Chandless, op. cit., entry for Sept. 7th, 1855. 

54. Ibid., entry for Sunday, Sept. 16th. 


fully and they were soon in line with their pistols belted on and their 
rifles in their hands, and away we marched towards the object we 
thought was the Indian, I the whole time cautioning the boys not to 
fire until I gave the word and then to aim steady, when about this time 
we found that the object we thought was an Indian proved to be one 
of our small mules that had got loose and strayed around to the other 
side of the camp. We all had a hearty laugh over the result. 55 

In the afternoon we had an alarm of Indians coming over the Bluffs 
on our side, four or five miles ahead; waggons formed closely in battle 
corral; great bustle and animation; caps and cartridges served out; my 
revolver a good deal admired; the soldiers determined to keep out of 
our range, very wisely: I offered to bet that our men caused more 
casualties among us than among the Indians, or than the Indians 
among us. . . . After waiting the best part of an hour, the supposed 
Sioux turned out to be a troop of cavalry scouring the country: so 
much for a cheap telescope. 56 

On at least one occasion the problem of identifying Indians was 
deliberately exacerbated by Edwin Bryant and several members of 
his party. The group was about five miles below Chimney Rock 

A man on horseback appeared in front coming towards us. He was 
about two miles distant when we first saw him. He appeared to be 
riding leisurely along the trail, and did not discover us until he had 
approached within the distance of half or three quarters of a mile. He 
then suddenly halted, turned his horse partly round, and seemed in 
doubt whether to advance or retreat. In the mean time we continued 
to approach him; and several of the party starting their horses suddenly 
forward on a gallop, gave a loud Indian whoop. This appeared to 
operate with electrical force. He fled with all the speed that his horse 
was capable of. Whip and spur were applied with an energy indicat- 
ing that the rider supposed his life dependent upon their influence over 
the animal he rode. He would occasionally look back, and then renew 
with increased zeal the lashes upon his poor beast. Away and away 
he went, almost with the fleetness of the wind, and was soon lost to 
our sight in a distant depression of the plain. He evidently supposed 
us to be a party of Indians, whom he did not wish to encounter, and 
seized with a panic, fled with the precipitation I have described. I 
did not see him afterwards. He was an emigrant probably in search of 
lost cattle. 57 

As part of this discussion of false alarms, it is appropriate to 
note that the disappearance of stock was almost automatically 
attributed to Indians. The cases described below demonstrate the 
weakness of such attribution without evidence. They also pose an 
unanswerable question; how many times were Indians blamed for 
stealing stock which had strayed or which had, in fact, been stolen 
by whites? The comment recorded by the Reverend Edward Par- 
rish (1844) was not unusual: "Preparing to make an early start, 
But the cattle are not all lined up. Indians accused of driving them 

55. Richard Thomas Ackley, op. cit., pp. 193-194, entry for July 4th. 

56. William Chandless, op. cit., entry for Sept. 1 1th. 

57. Edwin Bryant, op. cit., entry for Sunday, June 21. 


off. Indians not guilty — cattle found.'* 58 Straying stock were fre- 
quently found in the hands of trains further back down the trail. 
Such was the case for John McGlashen (1850): "This morning 
four of our mules are missing and the pony. . . . The impression is 
they have been stolen by Indians. We have started on the back 
trail after riding 5 miles we find them in the company of another 
train. They had got away from the herd in the night without being 
observed. " r>9 

The danger of theft by white men was more pronounced during 
the early part of the trip west. The attitude of many emigrants 
was expressed by Henry Allyn (1853) when he wrote that his party 
"Stood guard last night, more for fear of white thieves in guise of 
Indians, than of Indians." 60 The lack of a market for stolen stock 
was the primary factor in the decline of such theft further west. 
The importance of a ready market was noted by Robert Chalmers 
(1850). Three days out of Independence, he wrote, "A company 
that had camped close by lost 5 horses and 14 oxen, which were 
stolen by Indians or Whites for they are worse than Indians. They 
steal here and take them back and sell again to emigrants." 61 

On the basis of the foregoing, the sarcastic comments of Lydia 
Milner Waters (1855) about some of the "Indian fighters" in her 
party were, perhaps, in order: "I should say we had some mighty 
men of valor with us. The Indians would die of fright as soon as 
they saw them! These mighty men could fire forty shots out of 
their wagons without reloading!" 62 

Another danger of the trip west, and one not usually emphasized, 
was that of firearms accidents. Most adult male members of a 
wagon train armed themselves with those weapons most readily 
available to them. As a result, the types of weaponry varied con- 
siderably. G. W. Thissel described some of the types of guns: 
". . . there were firearms of all descriptions, — double and single- 
barreled shotguns and smoothbore and double -twisted rifles. The 
favorite gun was the old Kentucky rifle, with a barrel three feet 
long, that carried sixty balls to the pound." 63 

Possession of firearms did not necessarily imply proficiency in 
their use, nor much understanding of the capabilities of a particular 
weapon. Sometimes the result could be humorous, as was the case 

58. Reverend Edward Evans Parrish, op. cit, entry for Tuesday, May 21. 

59. "Overland Journal of John McGlashen — 1850." Entry for May 4th. 

60. "Journal of Henry Allyn, 1853." As copied from the Transactions of 
the Forty -ninth Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneers Association, Port- 
land, June 16, 1921. Entry for May 20, Friday. 

61. Charles Kelly (editor), "The Journal of Robert Chalmers, April 17- 
September 1, 1850." Utah Historical Quarterly, January, 1952, p. 36. 
Entry for May 11. 

62. Lydia Milner Waters, op. cit. 

63. G. W. Thissel, op. cit., entry for May 21. 


with one would-be buffalo hunter. One Jim Stoaks owned a 
"blunderbuss of the War of 1812" which was "short, light, and 
handy. It was a dangerous looking gun. It looked as if it would 
kill everything it was pointed at. It was a smooth bore and carried 
a half -ounce ball." 64 

Stoaks loaded it for Indians when we crossed the Missouri River. 
Days and weeks passed, and no Indians needed killing. 

The most ferocious thing we saw on the plains, except a band of 
friendly Indians, was a herd of buffalo. 

Jim became impatient to try his gun, and turned it loose on the 
buffalo. They were not one-fourth of a mile away. Jim got under 
the bank of a creek and crept up to within fifty yards of them. He 
took sight with both eyes open, and, shaking like a trembling aspen 
leaf, he pulled the trigger. 

It was a flint lock, and it missed fire. Jim picked the flint and took 
aim once more, expecting to blow a hole clear through that buffalo. 

There was a roar, then a crash, and Jim landed in the bed of the 
creek, while the gun lay on the opposite bank. When the smoke 
cleared away, Jim looked for his buffalo, and was just in time to see 
the herd go over the hill a mile away. Not a hair on their hide had 
been hurt. 

Should Jim Stoaks live to be as old as Methuselah, he will never 
forget the buffalo he did not kill. 63 

More frequently, careless handling of firearms had a tragic ef- 
fect. Five fatalities caused by such accidents were reported in the 
diaries; three of them resulted from blatant mishandling of a weap- 
on — pulling a loaded gun from a wagon, muzzle first. In view of 
the similarity of the accidents, one example will suffice. Near the 
Big Blue River, William Johnston received a report "giving infor- 
mation that at this place. . . John Fuller had acidentally shot and 
killed himself whilst removing a gun from a wagon. The mode was 
the usual one — never yet patented and open to all — the muzzle was 
towards him and went off of itself." 66 

The circumstances surrounding the other two fatal accidents 
were not reported. Mrs. E. D. S. Geer noted simply, "Today when 
our hunters came in they brought one dead man; he had shot him- 
self last night accidentally. He left a wife and six small children. 
The distress of his wife I cannot describe. He was an excellent 
man and very much missed. His name was Smith Dunlap, from 
Chicago, 111." 67 The report of Joseph Rhodes (1850) is a model 

64. Ibid. 

65. Ibid. Inexperience caused other difficulties as well. John Bidwell 
described "A man (who) was hunting a short distance from the company, 
and left his horse tied while he crept in pursuit of a Buffalo, but he was not 
able to find the same place again and consequently lost his horse." 

66. Wm. G. Johnston, op. cit., p. 78, entry for Wednesday, May 9th. 

67. "Diary of Mrs. Elizabeth Dixon Smith Geer." Transactions of the 
35th Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Association. Portland, June 
19th, 1907. Entry for July 1, 1847. 


of brevity: "To-day we drove 10 miles where we camped on Little 
Blue River. It is a butiful stream. The grass is very short, dry 
and hot. one man accidently shot him self through the head, he 
died instantly his train was just behind us." 08 

Five other accidents, also noted in the diaries, resulted in wounds 
which ranged from negligible to very serious. A young man in the 
party of Jacob Snyder ( 1 845 ) was "accidently shot, the ball pass- 
ing through his side, making a fresh wound and lodging in his arm;" 
this accident led Mr. Snyder to observe that "Guns should always 
be uncapped when brought into camp.'" j; ' Firearm accidents were 
not by any means confined to camp. A certain lack of facility with 
guns sometimes made hunting more dangerous than normal: "A 
Mr. Richard Goodman and authers waus hunting & waus crawling 
on a buffilow & a Mr. Eumairs gun went off & shot Mr. Goodman 
throo the right arm." 70 

The three pistol accidents reported all resulted in serious injury. 
Henry Allyn (1853) told of a young man who pulled a revolver 
from a wagon (apparently barrel first), "it got hitched and sprung 
the lock, discharging and nearly ruined one arm." 71 Dr. Benjamin 
Cory (1847) described another case: "A young man by name of 
Lynzz discharged a ramrod and bullet from a pistol through his 
right hand which fractured the bones a good deal. His hand will 
be useless for months." 7 - Finally, a companion of William John- 
ston ( 1 849 ) "met with a painful accident which deprived him of 
the use of a hand during the remainder of the journey. In putting 
his pistols into their holsters, through some careless handling one 
discharged its contents through the palm of his left hand." 73 

Through lack of proper care or because of faulty equipment, 
occasionally a gun would burst upon firing. Sometimes the phys- 
ical, if not the psychological, effect of the accident was slight, but 
there was always the possibility of a serious wound. Benjamin 
Cory provides an illustration of the former: "A rifle was burst but 
did no damage except slightly bruising one man." 74 A much more 

68. Merrill J. Mattes, "Joseph Rhodes and the California Gold Rush of 
1850." Annals of Wyoming, January, 1951, p. 63, entry for Thursday the 
16, 1850. 

69. "The Diary of Jacob R. Snyder, Written while crossing the plains to 
California in 1845." op. cit., entry for Sunday 8th (June). 

70. Harry N. M. Winton (editor), "William Thompson Newby's Diary of 
the Emigration of 1843". Copied from the Oregon Historical Quarterly, 
September, 1939; Vol. XXXX, No. 3, by Devere Helfrich on December 17, 
1948. Entry for July 2. 

71. "Journal of Henry Allyn, 1853", op. cit., entry for June-25-Saturday. 

72. "Diary of Dr. Benjamin Cory, Crossing the Plains", op. cit., entry 
for May 3. 

73. Wm. G. Johnston, op. cit., pp. 83-84, entry for Friday, May 11th. 

74. "Diary of Dr. Benjamin Cory, Crossing the Plains", op. cit., entry for 
May 3. 


serious accident was described by Pierson Barton Reading ( 1843) : 
"One of the hunters, Mcintosh, a half breed Cherokee Indian was 
badly wounded in the thigh and arm by the bursting of his gun." 75 

Finally, although not frequently mentioned, fires could be caused 
by the accidental discharge of a gun. Two such cases were report- 
ed, one on the Republican River and the other near Independence 
Rock. Mr. Cornelia A. Sharp's party "had their weapons, or 
rather contents of the wagons, set on fire by accident discharge of a 
gun. Fortunately no serious damage was done." 76 Lydia Milner 
Waters was not so lucky. One of the men had left a loaded gun in 
the wagon with the hammer cocked. Mrs. Waters' skirt caught on 
the hammer and discharged the gun. The immediate results were 
a fire in the wagon and a number of loose horses which, under- 
standably enough, broke loose when peppered with the rifle charge. 
Mrs. Water suffered painful burns in attempting to put out the fire 
and one horse was so "well peppered . . . the slugs did not all work 
out until five months afterwards." 77 

In assessing the threat of Indian attack, one more factor must be 
considered. Of the sixty-six diaries used, twenty-six are records of 
journeys during which relatively little contact with Indians oc- 
curred. Of course, almost all emigrants saw Indians at trading 
posts and military establishments. Thus, by the mid-1 850's, In- 
dians were frequently seen because the number of traders' tents, 
cabins and posts had vastly increased. Nowhere was this increase 
more apparent than in present day Wyoming, as the diary of Sarah 
Sutton (1854) amply illustrates. 

May 30 — (passed Scottsbluff) Passed two French Traders' cabins 
and three Indian Lodges with them. 

June 1 — Came onto the Platte River again and passed a Traders tent 
of French and Indians. . . . Passed three more Trading Posts. 

June 3 — (passed Fort Laramie). 

June 4 — Passed a Traders' Post and about twenty Indian Wigwams 
with them. 

June 8 — Passed 2 trading posts; saw no Indians. 

June 9 — Passed a Trading Post and an Indian Wigwam. 

June 10 — . . . passed a Traders Station today and an Indian Lodge 
with it. 

June 11 — There was a Traders Station and six Indian Lodges with 

75. "Journal of Pierson Barton Reading, In His Journey of One Hundred 
Twenty-Three Days Across The Rocky Mountains From Westport On the 
Missouri River, 450 Miles Above St. Louis, To Monterey, California, On 
The Pacific Ocean, In 1843." Quarterly of The Society of California Pio- 
neers. September, 1930. Volume VII, Number 3, p. 162, entry for Mon- 
day, July 3d. 

76. "Diary of Mrs. Cornelia A. Sharp: Crossing the Plains from Missouri 
to Oregon in 1852." As copied from the Transactions of the Thirty-first 
Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Association for 1903. Entry for 
Saturday, May 29. 

77. Lydia Milner Waters, op. cit. 


June 13 — Passed two Trader's tents and an Indian Lodge with them. 

June 14 — (Independence Rock). . . Here is a white Trader as usual, 
with an Indian Wigwam. . . . 

June 16 — . . . We passed two traders tents today. 

June 21 — . . . We have passed a Trader and a blacksmith shop today 
and are in sight of an Indian Town. 

June 22 — . . . Passed a Traders and a Blacksmith shop today. 

June 26 — (Green River Ferry). . . Here is quite a town. Five or six 
cabins and four or five stores and one Indian wigwam. 78 

Before the influx of traders, however, a number of diarists called 
specific attention to a lack of contact with Indians except at mili- 
tary and trading posts. Jason Lee (1834), for example, wrote, 
"near the Forks of Sandy and Green Rivers. . . . Here met an 
Indian Free Trapper which is the first Indian we have seen since we 
saw the Pawnee Loups before crossing the main Platte." 79 Mary 
Richardson Walker (1838) noted no Indian contact of importance 
during the entire journey across what is now Nebraska and Wyo- 
ming. William Thompson Newby (1843) saw Snake Indians on 
August 23 on Bear River. He made particular mention of the 
incident because the Snakes were the first Indians he had seen, 
except at military posts, since June 17. On the latter date, one day 
before reaching the Platte from the Blue River, he had seen some 
Pawnees. 80 In like manner, the Reverend Edward Evans Parrish 
(1844) made the following entry in his diary as his party neared 
the crossing of the South Platte: "no Indians have been seen, we 
think, since the Iowas stole our cattle." 81 Mr. Parrish noted no 
contact with Indians beyond the South Platte crossing until he 
reached the vicinity of Green River. 82 

Virgil K. Pringle (1846) and Richard M. May (1848) encoun- 
tered no Indians after leaving the vicinity of Grand Island. The 
latter apparently had feared he would see no Indians at all. At 
least he recorded this comment, "I have lived to see one Pawnee 
Indian." 83 He also saw Indians at Fort Laramie, but nowhere else 
between Grand Island and Bear River. 

Chimney Rock marked the last reported contact with Indians for 
Samual Parker (1845), Lorenzo Dow Young (1847) and Jesse W. 
Crosby (1847); Courthouse Rock had the same significance for 

78. "Diary of Sarah Sutton", op. cit., entries for dates indicated in the 

79. "Diary of Jason Lee." Copied from the Oregon Historical Quarterly 
for 1916, Volume XVII, by Devere Helfrich, January 26, 1949. Entry for 
Thrs. Ju. 19. 

80. "William Thompson Newby's Diary of the Emigration of 1843," 
op. cit., entries for June 17 and for August 23. 

81. "Crossing the Plains in 1844, Diary of Rev. Edward Evans Parrish**, 
op. cit., entry for Sat-July-20. 

82. Ibid., entry for Thu-Aug-29. 

83. Richard M. May, "A sketch of a Migration family to California.** 
Entry for the 3rd of June. 


W. W. Chapman (1849). In 1850, Francher Stimson encountered 
no Indians once he had passed Lone Tree and William Snow made 
his only report on Indians on August 17, four days beyond Fort 
Laramie. 84 During the same year, James Mason, Robert Chal- 
mers, Joseph Rhodes, George Keller, John McGiashen and Orange 
Gaylord had similar experiences. None of them mention any con- 
tact with Indians in their diaries at any point west of the general 
area of Ash Hollow. Orange Gaylord, in fact, hadn't seen too 
many Indians before reaching Ash Hollow: "May 29 — Traveled 
eight miles and came to Ash Hollow. . . . We traveled up the river 
five miles and camped near a company of Sioux Indians, the first 
that we saw since we left the Mission. " S5 The Gaylord party also 
saw Indian encampments on the following day, but, as stated above, 
none thereafter. 

The 1852 diaries of Mr. Davis. Mrs. Cornelia A. Sharp and the 
Reverend John McAllister furnish the final examples of emigrant 
trips unencumbered by much contact with Indians. Mr. McAllister 
makes no mention of Indians beyond Papea Creek in eastern 
Nebraska. Mr. Davis saw some Indians about fifteen or twenty 
miles west of the Elkhorn River; he subsequently made numerous 
references to the fact that he was in "Indian country," but there is 
no further indication of any contact. s<; The first notation concern- 
ing Indians in Mrs. Sharp's diary is dated July 8, one day before 
the party crossed South Pass. 87 

The great western migration along the Oregon-California Trail 
cut through the prime hunting ground of most of the major plains 
tribes — Pawnee, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Sioux, Crow and Shoshoni. 
That the continuing and increasing white presence was both a cause 
and the recipient of Indian retaliation is not only clear, but also is 
easily understood. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of emigrant- 
Indian relations before 1860 is the relatively few accounts of overt 
Indian attack. Wagon trains of reasonable size which maintained 
at least a modicum of discipline were almost always safe from open 
Indian attack. Even the most efficiently organized party was, how- 
ever, likely to suffer from attempted theft by Indians. To many 
white men, such activity was merely further proof of the instability 

84. "Diary of William Snow; Across the Plains, beginning in June, 1850," 
Entry for Sat. 17 (August). 

85. "Diary of Orange Gaylord to California and Oregon 1850." As 
copied from the Transactions of the Forty-fifth Annual Reunion of the 
Oregon Pioneer Association. Portland, July 19, 1917. Entry for May-29. 
The Mission probably refers to the Shawnee Mission, located in present-day 

86. "Diary of Mr. Davis — 1852." As copied from the Transactions of 
the Thirty-Seventh Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Association, 
Portland, June 11, 1909. Entry for Wed-Jun-2. 

87. "Diary of Mrs. Cornelia A. Sharp: Crossing the Plains from Missouri 
to Oregon in 1852", op. cit., entry for Thu-July-8. 


and essential dishonesty of Indian character, which, in turn, justi- 
fied taking harsh punitive measures against them. Few knew, and 
fewer cared, that horse stealing was as much a part of the plains 
Indian's culture and way of life as were sharp business transactions 
for a Yankee trader. Then, as now, moral wrong is most easily 
attributed to a standard of behavior that differs from one's own. 
Particularly given the Indian emphasis on horse stealing, the num- 
ber of attempted thefts reported in the diaries seems surprisingly 

The threat of Indian attack on the first half of the Oregon Trail 
during the years of greatest emigrant travel has all too frequently 
been unduly emphasized by popular writers. Such treatment has 
tended to romanticize the "Indian fighting" capabilities of many of 
the early travelers as well as the "bloodthirsty" reputation of all 
plains Indians. Evaluation of the Indian threat requires some 
effort at placing the events in proper perspective. Hopefully this 
article represents a step in the right direction. 

This is one of two peripheral studies developed by the author in the course 
of Sabbatical research during the past year. "Independence Rock and Devil's 
Gate" was published in the Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 40, No. 1, April, 1968. 


Zhe Day of Small Z kings 

'"Do not despise the day of small things" is an admonition worthy 
of much consideration in industrial matters, especially in these days 
when trusts and monopolies are blighting individual effort and 
enterprise in so many parts of the country. Cheyenne, for example, 
has a number of small industries and enterprises which do not 
attract much attention, and yet are very material and substantial 
aids to the city. Among these are the local cigar factories, em- 
ploying from five to seven hands steadily throughout the year, and 
expending in wages many thousands of dollars in the course of a 
year. Retail dealers can do much better by buying from the home 
factory than from big establishments, for the reason that the local 
manufacturers will sell them small orders at the same rates as large 
ones and they are not compelled to carry large stocks of goods with 
the prospect of loss through getting unpopular brands. 

The consumer can aid in supporting and building up a home 
industry by calling for a Wyoming made cigar, and can do this act 
of patriotism without self-sacrifice, for the cigar which will be 
given him will be as good as those made in any other part of the 
country for the same price. 

The local wagon and carriage shops are enterprises which should 
be encouraged. The local wagon builder can and will put you up 
an honest carriage or wagon, which, if it costs somewhat more, will 
last twice as long as the factory-built one. If the orders sent from 
Wyoming for factory-built buggies and carriages were given to the 
local shops, to be found in each city and town employing from two 
to five men each, these shops would soon be enabled to increase 
their equipment of men and machinery, to the very evident gain of 
the community in which they may be located. 

So with bicycles. The home bicycle factories can and do turn 
out wheels equally good for the price as any factory wheels. 
Should every bicycle rider in the State use a Wyoming built wheel 
the State would support a factory in almost every city within its 

— The Wyoming Industrial Journal 
Vol. l,No. 2, July, 1899 

Statistics of Mines and Mining 
in the States and Z err it cries 
West of the Koeky Mountains 


Rossiter W. Raymond 
United States Commissioner of Mining Statistics* 


Although the mines of this district attracted considerable atten- 
tion as early as 1868, it was impossible to collect out of the mass of 
contradicting reports anything like reliable information before the 
completion of the Union Pacific railroad was an established fact. 
Since that event, however, took place, safer and more direct com- 
munication with a region so near to the national highway between 
the East and West has enabled me to communicate the following 
detailed description of the mineral resources of this important sec- 
tion of the new Territory' of Wyoming, as far as they are known at 


The Sweetwater mines are situate(d) in Carter County, Wyoming 
Territory, in about latitude A2 l /i° north, and longitude 109° west 
of Greenwich, some fifty miles in a direct line north of Point of 
Rocks Station, on Bitter Creek, Union Pacific railroad, and about 
twelve miles north of the South Pass on the old California overland 
route. They are reached via the town of Bryan, Union Pacific 
railroad, Green River Ferry, Big Sandy Creek, Little Sandy Creek, 
the Pacific Springs, and South Pass City, one of the principal min- 
ing towns of the district. The distance between Bryan and South 
Pass City is one hundred miles. Mr. Benham has established a 
daily line of coaches between these two points, who carry passen- 
gers through in twelve hours for twenty dollars. This line carries 

* This report was originally published as House of Representatives Exec- 
utive Document No. 207, 41st Congress, 2d Session, Washington, Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1870. 


also Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express. Another more direct route 
leaves Point of Rocks Station in a northern direction and reaches 
South Pass City by way of Black Rocks and Sweetwater Station, 
on the overland road. The distance amounts to about seventy 
miles. Mr. Laramie runs a daily line of coaches on this route and 
carries passengers for ten dollars. 

The distance from Sacramento, California, to Bryan is 914 miles; 
from Omaha to Bryan, 860; and from Point of Rocks to Bryan, 53 
miles. Freight is carried from Bryan to South Pass City, at the rate 
of from one and three-quarters to two cents per pound, and from 
Chicago at from four and a half to six cents. 

The three principal mining towns are South Pass City, Atlantic 
City, and Hamilton. The two latter are situate(d) respectively 
four and eight miles northeast from the former, and in communica- 
tion with it by coaches running twice a day. 

From the above it appears that the district is of easy access from 
the eastern as well as the western States. The completion of the 
Union Pacific railroad has done wonders in this once so remote 
part of the country. It has caused the organization of the new 
Territory of Wyoming; it has opened the extensive coal-fields at 
Carbon, Black Buttes, Point of Rocks, Bitter Creek, Evanston, and 
elsewhere, and given a new impetus to the development of the vast 
and really valuable mineral resources of the Sweetwater district, 
which before were almost out of reach on account of the remoteness 
of the locality and the danger from Indians. It is much to be 
regretted, however, that the line of railroad does not follow the 
California overland road through South Pass. The heavy grade 
and the severe winter snows of the Black Hills, as well as the 
terrible Bitter Creek desert, might have been avoided by such a 

All the old hunters and mountaineers, who have had long exper- 
ience in this region, agree that a grand mistake was made in locating 
the railroad where it now is. They assert that a far better route and 
a very gradual and easy ascent of the mountains could have been 
gained by passing up the North Platte to the mouth of Sweetwater, 
up this stream to South Pass proper, thence to the Big Sandy and 
down to Green River; that, following this route, the road would 
have passed through a country rich in mineral and agricultural 
resources; that it could have been built at much less expense, and 
that no snows would have impeded transportation in the winter. 


About thirty miles northwest of South Pass City, the main range 
of the Rocky Mountains, here called Sweetwater and Wind River 
Mountains, rises with its snow-covered peaks high above the sur- 
rounding prairies and highlands. It is seen at a great distance and 
breaks the monotony of the scenery very agreeably. Its general 


characteristics vary in no way from those of the Rocky Mountains 
in Colorado and New Mexico. In a southeastern direction, how- 
ever, toward South Pass and the Black Hills, this high range breaks 
off rather suddenly, and mountainous highlands with low, undulat- 
ing hills form its continuation. The hills rise generally not more 
than five hundred feet above the streams and gulches, which, inter- 
secting the country in all directions, descend very gradually. Some 
of the cracks flow north into Beaver Creek, a tributary to the Wind 
River, which by the Big Horn and Yellowstone sends its waters to 
the Missouri; others running easterly into the Sweetwater are trib- 
utaries of the North Platte; still others, flowing in a southwestern 
direction into Green River and thence into the Colorado, reach the 
Pacific Ocean. 

To illustrate the hydrographical features of this region by a very 
striking case, I might mention the occurrence of two springs near 
South Pass, about twelve miles south of South Pass City; they are 
close together, but one of them sends its waters to the Pacific, the 
other to the Atlantic Ocean. 

Spring Gulch, on which the town of Hamilton is situated, empties 
like Yankee and Meadow Gulches into Beaver Creek. Strawberry 
Creek, Rock Creek, and Willow Creek flow into the Sweetwater. 
On the two latter Atlantic City and South Pass City are located. 
Cariso Gulch and Big and Little Hermit Gulches empty into Willow 

The Sweetwater River. — This stream heads in a beautiful little 
lake on the western slope of the Sweetwater Mountains, about forty 
miles northwest of South Pass City. It runs about one hundred 
and fifty miles in an easterly direction and finally empties into the 
North Platte. The headwaters of Big and Little Sandy Creeks, 
which flow into the Green River, are close to those of the Sweet- 

All along the course of the latter stream are large tracts of land 
well adapted to agriculture, and gold is found from the little lake 
to the Platte River in the sand and gravel of the banks and the 
stream. The decayed remnants of sluice-boxes, which are found on 
the upper Sweetwater, suggest that long before the late rush to these 
regions, miners have worked here for gold. I shall revert to this 
point hereafter in the historical account of this district. 

The Green River has its source in Lake Matheson — so called in 
honor of its discoverer. This beautiful sheet of water is situate (d) 
about one hundred and twenty-five miles northwest of South Pass 
City, on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The Green 
River traverses, on its way southward, fertile valleys and prairies 
containing an immense extent of arable land. Extensive gold- 
bearing gravel deposits were discovered a few years ago by a party 
of hunters, and the facilities for hydraulic mining are such that it is 
confidently believed these deposits can be worked very profitably. 
The country about the head of Little Sandy, one of the tributaries 


of Green River, is thickly timbered. Lumber will square here as 
much as 30 inches. Galena has been found near the same stream. 

The Wind River — The source of this river is on the eastern slope 
of the Wind River Mountains; the valley of the same name lies 
about thirty miles northeast of the principal mining districts on the 
Sweetwater. It is conceded by competent judges to be one of the 
largest and most beautiful valleys between the Missouri and the 
Pacific Ocean. Its average width is about eight miles; its length is 
variously estimated at from one hundred and fifty to two hundred 
miles. Wind River empties into the Big Horn, which is a tributary 
to the Yellowstone and Missouri. The banks of the river and those 
of the numerous smaller streams feeding it are thickly covered with 
a growth of large cottonwood trees; the mountain sides adjacent to 
the valleys abound in the finest pine and fir forests. The soil of the 
valley is a dark loam, capable of producing all the crops raised on a 
Missouri River bottom farm. The climate in winter is very mild; 
snow never falls to a depth exceeding six or eight inches. This, as 
well as the abundance of game found in the valley, has induced 
many of our old hunters and several Indian tribes to winter here 
year after year. No finer grazing country can be found in the 
United States. About fifty ranges are taken up by white men for 
agricultural purposes, and the fruits of their industry will find ready 
sale at the mining camps for years. 

Coal and petroleum are said to have been found in several parts 
of the valley; in its upper end a very strong spring of hot sulphur 
water has been discovered. 


The earlier history of these mines is comparatively unknown. 
An interesting account is given in an article in the "Sweetwater 
Mines" (newspaper) of March 24, 1869, a short abstract of which 
may be appropriate here, as illustrating the many hardships and 
disappointments to which our early western pioneers have been so 
often subjected. 

Gold in the Sweetwater district was first discovered in 1 842 by a 
Georgian, who came here with the American Fur Company for the 
recovery of his health. After remaining a year he started for home, 
intending to organize a company and bring them here to work the 
mines. He never reached his home, however, and was supposed to 
have been killed by Indians. Thirteen years elapsed, when a party 
of forty men arrived here. They prospected the whole length of the 
Sweetwater, found gold everywhere in the river as well as in all its 
tributaries, and turned the main stream from its channel for 400 
yards. A small shaft, eight feet deep, from which they took from 
two to ten cents worth of gold per pan, was sunk and worked for 
some time. Winter approaching, they abandoned their enterprise 
to winter at Fort Laramie, where they intended to provision them- 


selves for a year and get a supply of necessary tools in the spring. 
This done they started, but when on their way two days they were 
overtaken by United States dragoons, and brought back to the fort; 
the leader was sent to prison for some imaginary offense, and the 
property of the company was confiscated. In 1858 the leader 
returned to this region, but did no mining until the summer of 1860, 
when he and eight others commenced mining on Strawberry Creek. 
Their rotten sluices, rockers, and toms remain there to the present 
day. During 1861 mining was abandoned, because men could 
make more money putting up hay, delivering telegraph poles, &c, 
for the Overland Stage Company. In the fall of 1861, however, 
fifty-two men had collected at South Pass City ready to commence 
mining in the early spring of 1862. Their locations were selected, 
and prospects were promising, when, like a thunderbolt, the Sho- 
shone Indians broke down on them, robbed them of everything and 
drove them off. This put a stop to mining operations until the fall 
of 1866, when a party, led by the same man who guided all the 
former expeditions, came down from Virginia City, Montana. 
They wintered on the Sweetwater, and June 8, 1867, the Cariso 
lode was discovered by H. S. Reedall. A mining district was organ- 
ized and called Shoshone district. Mining laws were agreed upon 
and regulations entered into by the pioneers. 

Reedall and his party commenced working the Cariso lode, when 
they were attacked by Indians, who killed three of them and drove 
off the remainder. The survivors returned to the mines July 28. 
and remained over winter. They succeeded in extracting from the 
croppings of the lode, which they crushed in a hand-mortar, 81,600 
in gold. Seven thousand dollars more they washed out of the 
detritus in the gulch below the vein. The news of this success 
spread rapidly and was greatly exaggerated. A great rush com- 
menced from the neighboring Territories, but the majority of the 
adventurers, not finding the facts to bear out the reports, left very 
soon. Only about five hundred remained and went to work. Their 
labor was well rewarded, and gradually more population was 
attracted, so that in July, 1869, 2,000 people had settled here. 
They were doing well and apparently satisfied with the results 
already reached, and their future prospects. Although all those 
persons came to the district poor they had three mills with twenty- 
six stamps running; and several arrastras were in operation. 

Among the fifteen hundred lodes discovered a great number are 
necessarily worthless; but many have proved to be sufficiently rich 
for profitable working, and capital is beginning to be invested. 
Twelve mills, with one hundred and sixty-one stamps, will soon be 
running, and on the whole the future of the district looks bright and 
cheerful. The gold occurs principally free in veins of quartz. 
Many of these have been opened and worked by shafts and surface 
pits, but the extent of country prospected and explored so far is so 
small that a much greater number may be confidently expected to 


exist. The placer-workings, too, are as yet of a comparatively 
limited extent, and the area of untouched ground which might be 
profitably worked by hydraulics is very large. 


The geological formation of the country around South Pass City, 
Atlantic City, and Hamilton is very uniform. The country rock 
containing the mineral belt near these towns consists exclusively of 
metamorphous and azoic rocks. Hornblende rock and slates are 
predominant. The strata are folded and tilted to a considerable 
extent, and vary considerably in strike and dip. The rock, being 
very hard, has resisted the decomposing influence of the atmos- 
phere, and is in many places entirely bare and uncovered by 
detritus. Striae on the tops and slopes of hills give evidence of 
formal glacial action in some instances. Prospecting and the dis- 
covery of lodes could not meet many difficulties in a country like 
this, especially as many of the veins carry huge croppings of quartz, 
which are traceable for miles. Where the lodes do not crop out 
above the surface the "float" is usually found near by. Following 
it up the ravines and gulches, the prospector can easily find the 
mother vein. 

Southwest of Atlantic City the country rock is predominantly of a 
slaty character. Here occurs a body of syenite. Limestone is 
found near Hamilton, and also on Slate Creek, an affluent of 
Rock Creek. 


The main belt of lodes between Atlantic City and Hamilton fol- 
lows a general northeast and southwest course; but within this limit 
there is considerable variation in the strike and dip of veins. Some 
of them run parallel with the stratification of the country rock, 
others traverse it at a small angle. Mr. Wm. Buckner's field-book 
furnishes the following bearings of a number of lodes. It must be 
remembered, however, that some of these claims were quite insuf- 
ficiently opened to permit of determining finally the true strike, and 
later workings may disclose somewhat different facts. 

Table of bearings. 

1. Lodes in Shoshone district, situate south of Rock Creek: 

Young America N. 86°E. 

Cariso N. 60°E. 

Washington N. 68°E. 

Austin City N. 72 1 /2°E. 

King Solomon N. 52°E. 

Golden Gate N. 70°E. 

Garden City N. 47 1 /2°E. 

Nellie Morgan N. 58^2 °E. 

Barnaba N. 57°E. 

Plutus N. 77Y2 °E. 


Mary Ellen, (Perkins's) N. 32 1 /2°E. 

Calhoun N. SIV2 °E. 

Gold-hunter N. SIVz °N. 

Swiss N. 66V* °E. 

2. Lodes in California district, situate(d) north of Rock Creek: 

Soles and Perkins E. 

Buckeye State N. 40° E. 

Julian N.E. 

Chinook N.E. 

Montana N. 62Vz °E. 

Cariboo N. 87V* °E. 

Mammoth N. 77°E. 

Atlantic N. 73 °E. 

3. Lodes near Hamilton: 

Miners' Delight N. 40°E. 

Bennet Line N. 3°E. 

The dip of the lodes varies from 50 to 90 degrees, and is mostly 
towards the northwest; some of them, however, dip to the southeast. 
Their width varies from one to twenty-five feet. At least, one of 
the walls is generally smooth and well defined, especially when the 
strike and dip of the vein corresponds with that of the country rock. 
The wails of cross-veins are mostly imperfectly defined. 

The ore of the district is mainly quartz, in which oxide and 
silicate of iron are finely divided. The dark shade thus imparted 
to it has caused the miners to commonly call it "black iron." Some 
of the quartz, however, is white and transparent, like that of 
California, and shows specks and threads of free gold in a few 
instances. Most of this class shows no gold at all, but after pound- 
ing the ore in a mortar and washing it, the metal becomes visible. 
The dark kind of quartz is the most common; yellow and red 
stained varieties are frequently so much decomposed that they can 
be easily crushed between the thumb and forefinger. The miners 
call this kind "sandy quartz," and consider it richer in gold than 
the harder ore. 

The gold is not very fine; flour gold is rarely met with. It is of 
good quality, being on an average about .850 fine in gold, and .150 
in silver. Being very free, i. e., in a bright metallic state, without 
any coating whatever, the gold is very easily extracted from its 
matrix by the ordinary mill process. The amalgam, after having 
been strained, yields fifty per cent, of gold bullion by retorting. 

From the above it is evident that the character of the Sweetwater 
ores presents extraordinary facilities for the cheapest and simplest 
methods of reduction. They are therefore in great favor with 
American miners and millmen, who do not like to have anything 
to do with refractory ores. Base metals, such as lead, zinc, anti- 
mony, tellurium, copper, &c, are very rare, and to all appearances 
the percentage of iron pyrites will be very small, even at greater 
depth. In a few lodes only malachite and copper pyrites are found 
interspersed in the quartz. 

The average yield of several thousand tons of ore from different 


lodes has been from $30 to $40 per ton. The richest ore, yielding 
$100 and over to the ton, is taken from small lodes with an ore 
streak of one to two feet wide; lodes of from four to five feet wide 
contain a medium quality of ore, and the large veins of a thickness 
of 10 to 25 feet contain a vast amount of low-grade ores. The 
latter will undoubtedly consititute the main strength and most re- 
liable basis for the mining enterprises of the future. 

Most of the gold bullion produced during the last year has been 
extracted from the ore of the Cariso and Miners' Delight; on these 
two lodes the largest amount of work has been done. 

The Cariso lode. — This is situated about half a mile northeast 
of South Pass City on Cariso Gulch, and is the vein first discovered 
and located in the district. The principal workings are located on 
the east side of Cariso Gulch. According to the records of the dis- 
trict 1,600 feet have been located on it east of the discovery stake, 
and 1,400 feet west of it. All the different claims of 200 feet each 
are worked segregated, and some of them have changed proprietors 
several times. 

On Van Orden's claim, No. 1, west of discovery stake, a tunnel 
following the course of the lode and commencing near the gulch is 
run about 70 feet into the hill. At the eastern end of the claim a 
shaft has been sunk, and out of an open cut between the mouth of 
the tunnel and the shaft, some surface ore has been taken. Reed- 
airs, the discoverer's, claims are next to the east. The discovery 
shaft is 1 5 feet deep, and open cuts are on both sides of it. Out of 
these openings about $7,000 worth of gold have been taken. The 
eastern end of the discovery claim was bought by Bolivar Roberts, 
who sunk an incline 95 feet deep on the lode. It dips seventy-five 
degrees southeast. A spur joins the main lode at a depth of 30 
feet. At a depth of 35 feet and 47 feet, respectively, drifts have 
been run east and west, from the shaft. The average width of the 
ore streak is three feet between well-defined walls of hornblende 
slate. About 50 feet from the eastern end of the Roberts property, 
on Reedall's claim, No. 1 east, a shaft has been sunk to a depth of 
35 feet; 125 feet further on another shaft 35 feet deep has been 
sunk, and about 500 tons of ore have been taken out of the latter 
and a drift running from it westward. On Terry's claim is a shaft 
40 feet deep. This was the most eastern claim explored on the lode 
at the time of visiting the locality. 

Most of the ore extracted from this lode has been worked in the 
Hermit mill, on Willow Creek, below South Pass City. 

Hermit mill. — This mill was built by the Union foundery, (sic) 
San Francisco, California, and was the first one erected in the 
Sweetwater district. It has six stamps, and the motive power is 
supplied by an overshot waterwheel of 20 feet diameter and 4 feet 
breast. The stamps weigh 650 pounds each, and fall 8V2 inches 
at the rate of 80 drops per minute. They reduce 12 tons of quartz 
to great fineness in 24 hours. Amalgamated copper plates are used 


in the battery-box. One and one-quarter ounces of quicksilver for 
every ounce of gold contained in the ore are put into the battery 
from time to time. The pulp passes through a No. 70 wire screen, 
over amalgamated copper plates. In the battery itself little water is 
used, but through a perforated pipe, passing across the upper part 
of the plates, more water is added to keep the latter clean, and thus 
facilitate amalgamation upon their surface. Their inclination is 
ten degrees, and the amalgam is scraped off twice a day. After 
passing them the pulp runs over 50 feet of blankets and thence 
through 50 feet of riffled sluices. The blankets are washed every 
twenty minutes, and the washings, amounting to about 2,000 
pounds per day, are treated in charges of 1,500 pounds, in a 
Wheeler pan. Two and one-half pounds of quicksilver are added 
to a charge. Of the whole amount of amalgam, ninety-five per 
cent, are collected from the battery-box and plates, and only five 
per cent, result from the amalgamation of the blanket washings. 
Of the ninety-five per cent, about seven-eighths are taken from the 
battery, and one-eighth from the copper plates. Three pounds of 
gold amalgam yield by retorting nearly two pounds of gold. The 
gold from the Cariso lode is not very fine. Ore from the Soles & 
Perkins, which was under treatment at the time of visiting the mill, 
contains coarser gold. Four men, two to each shift, are continually 
employed by the mill — two as feeders and two as blanket washers. 
The latter have to attend to the pan amalgamation in addition to 
their other duties. The feeders of the battery have to be exper- 
ienced men, and receive $90, currency, and board, per month. 
The blanket washers are paid $60, currency, and board. 

Sixty thousand dollars' worth of gold have been produced by the 
mill since it started, according to the following statement of the 
superintendent : 

Hermit mill, South Pass City, Wyoming Territory: Started July 20, 
1868; shut down November 1, 1868; crushed 1,040 tons of ore, yield- 
ing, on an average, $36, currency, per ton. Started April 20, 1869; by 
July 1, 1869, had crushed 480 tons of ore, averaging $47, currency, 
per ton. 

E. B. EDDY, Superintendent 

The Young America, Austin City, Gladiator, Grecian Bend, and 
Washington, are situate(d) in the same belt with the Cariso. 

The Young America, on the west side of Cariso Gulch, is owned 
by an Ohio company; A. G. Sneath, superintendent. Their dis- 
covery shaft has reached a depth of 52 feet, and about 15 tons of 
fine-looking ore, expected to yield $60 per ton in gold, are lying in 
the shaft-house. About 125 feet from the first a second shaft has 
been sunk by the company, which has reached a depth of 48 feet. 
Its dimensions are five by nine feet. The lode is perpendicular, 
and at the bottom of the shaft two and one-half feet wide. The ore 
taken from this shaft, said to be worth $40 to $45 per ton, is white 
and dark blue quartz, with free gold. The company is erecting a 


10-stamp mill, with frame for five additional stamps, in Big Hermit 
Gulch. It is to be driven by a 20 horse-power engine. 

The Austin City. — The discovery shaft has reached a depth of 
50 feet. The ode is three feet wide, perpendicular, and corresponds 
in strike and dip with the incasing slates. 

The King Solomon lode near the gulch of the same name is re- 
markable on account of its huge croppings. King Solomon Gulch 
is a dry gulch and prospects very rich. The shaft sunk on the lode 
is 40 feet deep and exposes to view a quartz ledge eight to ten feet 

The Golden Gate is about one mile northeast on the Cariso lode, 
and nearly in line with it. It was discovered October 12, 1868, 
and is now owned by Morris, Molitor & Co. A shaft 50 feet deep 
shows the lode dipping 75° northwest, and seven feet wide. From 
300 to 400 tons of ore are lying on the dump awaiting reduction. 

The Garden City, owned by the same parties as the foregoing 
claim, lies north of it. A cap of 12 feet v/as passed through in a 
shaft 26 feet deep. The lode being two to three feet wide, has a 
good hanging wall, and dips 70° south. About 20 tons of ore, 14 
of which have yielded $16.75 per ton, have been taken out. 

The Nellie Morgan lode, owned by Snyder, Theall, and others, is 
situate (d) about half a mile east of South Pass City, on a hill east 
of Hermit Gulch; on the top of this hill the discovery shaft was 
located. The vein runs parallel with the stratifications of the coun- 
try rock, and dips 80° northwest. It is seven feet wide at the 
surface, and shows at the bottom of the shaft an ore streak of 22 
inches in width. The quartz is partly soft and decomposed, of dark 
blue and greenish color, and resembles the ore from the Sales and 
Perkins and the Cariso. The owners pay $15 per foot for sinking 
the shaft. 

All these lodes are situated in the immediate neighborhood of 
South Pass City. The hills presenting no steep grade, so that a 
wagon can be driven over them without any difficulty, they are 
easily accessible. 

About six miles west of the town the Scratch lode was discov- 
ered, and recorded April 3, 1868. Its ores contain malachite and 
yellow sulphuret of copper. Some of the lodes on Slate Creek, 
and a few of those between South Pass City and Atlantic City, 
show also traces of copper pyrites near the surface. 

In other mining districts, as, for instance, in the gold districts of 
Central City, Colorado, experience has shown that gold ores con- 
taining copper are generally very rich; such ores, however, give up 
their gold very imperfectly by the ordinary stamp mill process, and 
have to undergo several smelting operations, thus enhancing the 
cost of production considerably. No analyses being on record, it 
remains for the future to reveal a possible analogy of these ores to 
those from Colorado. On the south side of Rock Creek, between 
the two roads leading from Atlantic to South Pass City and the mill, 


two quartz lodes, parallel to each other and traversing the stratifi- 
cation of the tilted slates at an angle of about 45°, have been 
located. They have been named the Goidhunter and the Calhoun. 

The Goidhunter. — The discovery shaft is 50 feet deep and an 
incline. The dip of the lode is 75° northwest. About eight tons 
of ore have been taken out, none of which has been tested by mill 
process. The east claim on this lode, 1,300 feet long, is owned by 
Pease & Co., the west claim of 1,200 feet by Sales & Perkins. In 
the shaft sunk on Sales & Perkins's property the lode is found to 
dip 78° northwest. 

The Calhoun, located about 80 feet south of the former, belongs 
to the same parties as the foregoing lode. In the west shaft, which 
is 25 feet deep, an overseam of 1 2 to 20 inches is exposed. At the 
point of discovery the lode is three feet wide, and in the west shaft, 
which is sunk to a depth of 40 feet, four feet of quartz, dipping 78° 
northwest, are found. Near this lode the slates are intersected by 
syenitic rocks. At the line of intersection a lode of white quartz 
has been discovered and named the Mary Ellen. Some very rich 
ore has been taken from the croppings. The croppings of the 
northern part of the lode, here owned by Pease & Co., lie nearly 
horizontaily, but a surface pit 10 feet deep exposes, commencing 
at the depth of four feet, a dip of 35° to the north. The hanging 
wall consists of slates, the foot-wall of syenite. It is reported that 
some of the ore from this mine has yielded as high as $ 1 04 to the 
ton in Pease & Co.'s arrastra. 

On this lode 1,200 feet south of the discovery stake are owned 
by Soles & Perkins. Their shaft is 22 feet deep and exposes the 
vein dipping for the first 20 feet at an angle of 30° and afterward 
of 75° to the west. The bearing of the lode makes a considerable 
bend, as far as exposed to view by the present workings. 

The Plutus lode is located in the slate west of the Mary Ellen. 
The gangue is exposed to view by a surface pit four feet deep, and 
consists of a white feldspathic rock containing some malachite. The 
vein dips 70° northwest. 

The Duncan lode is the next one west from the foregoing. It was 
discovered and recorded August 21, 1868, by Ramsey & Stack, 
who have sunk a shaft 20 feet deep. The lode is nearly vertical, 
but at the bottom of the shaft it seems to assume a northerly dip. 
About 12 tons of fine ore have been taken out. A pretty gulch 
with a splendid spring of water is near the discovery shaft. On its 
east side a tunnel has been commenced on the lode. The ore taken 
out is of the same kind as that met with in the shaft. 

The Barnaha, on the west side of the gulch, is opened by an adit, 
showing a smooth foot-wall. The vein dips 82° northwest. 

All the lodes above described lie in Shoshone mining district, 
south of Rock Creek, which forms the boundary line between Sho- 
shone and California districts. In the latter district a range of hills, 
called Buckeye and Cariboo hills, contains a number of lodes, some 


of which are very promising. Near them and in a gulch running 
parallel to the chain of elevation Atlantic City is situated. On the 
south side of Buckeye Hill, about three-quarters of a mile from 
Atlantic City, the Soles & Perkins lode has been opened by a shaft 
5 by 10 feet and 60 feet deep. It is perpendicular for the first 35 
feet and then follows the dip to the lode at an angle of 65° south. 
At its bottom two ore seams of respectively four and sixteen inches 
are found. The hanging wall comes east and west, and is well 
defined. About 140 tons of ore have been extracted, 50 of which 
are on the dump awaiting reduction. The ore consists of dark col- 
ored quartz, the sandy and soft varieties of which are richer than 
the hard ores. The average of the quantity already worked was 
between $30 and $40 per ton. Fifteen hundred feet west and 700 
feet east of the discovery shaft is the property of Messrs. Soles & 

The Buckeye State lode, situate(d) about 700 feet north of the 
preceding one, is owned by Marshall, Forest, and others, to the 
extent of 1 ,000 feet east and 2,000 feet west of the discovery stake. 
The croppings are a layer of quartz four feet thick, from which the 
owners are said to have taken about 200 tons of ore. In a shaft 60 
feet deep the strike of the vein appears to be north 40° east; the 
dip is first 45° northwest, then perpendicular. The yield of the ore 
worked in the Buckeye Company's arrastra is reported by the 
owners at $10 per ton. 

The Julian lode on the southeast slope of the Buckeye Hill is 
opened by a surface pit 1 2 feet deep. The quartz vein exposed is 
five feet wide and dips 30° northwest. Forty tons of ore have been 
hauled to Rice & Co.'s mill, to be worked as soon as it commences 
operations. This mill was erected by the owners from the proceeds 
of gulch mining on Rock Creek. 

The Chinook lode, about 400 feet northeast of the Julian, is eight 
feet wide. Its course, exposed by a surface pit nine feet deep, is 
here northeasterly; it dips to northwest into the hill. About 30 tons 
of ore, expected to yield from $15 to $20 per ton, are on the dump. 
The claim is 1 ,200 feet long. 

Passing Chinook ravine, Montana lode is next met with on the 
southside of Cariboo Hill. It dips about 70 degrees northwest into 
the hill. The discovery shaft is only nine feet deep, no other work 
has been performed on the lode. 

On the Cariboo lode Pease & Co. own 1,500 feet west, and Rice, 
Miller & Co., 1,100 feet east of the discovery stake. On the prop- 
erty of the first-named parties the lode is 12 feet wide at the sur- 
face, and only 5 feet in the bottom of a shaft 30 feet deep. The dip 
of the foot-wall is 60°, that of the hanging wall 75°. Three shafts 
of a respective depth of 18, 25, and 30 feet have been sunk on the 
claim. The first 15 tons taken out yielded as much as 110.50 
ounces of very fine gold; 60 ounces of this were sent to Sacramento, 
and assayed at Waters's assay office. The gold was found to be 


.902 fine. About 50 tons of ore were worked in Pease & Co.'s 
arrastra and are reported to have yielded $5,000. On the east 
claim the owners have sunk a shaft 15 feet deep, from which they 
took 100 tons of quartz. Twenty-seven tons, crushed at the Hermit 
mill, are reported to have yielded at the rate of $22 currency per 
ton. East of the Buckeye Hill, on both sides of Atlantic Gulch, two 
large veins, the Mammoth and Atlantic, have been traced for a con- 
siderable distance. 

The Mammoth lode was discovered September 9, 1867. Three 
thousand feet on it are owned by Bolivar, Roberts & Co. On the 
first extension west, the Mammoth Company, Colonel Elliot super- 
intendent, have sunk a shaft 70 feet deep, which exposes the lode 
15 feet wide and quartz in its whole width. A considerable quan- 
tity of quartz has been taken from the shaft and a stamp mill will 
soon be erected. 

The Atlantic lode, about one quarter of a mile above the Mam- 
moth, and running nearly parallel with it, has been traced for about 
two miles on each side of Atlantic Gulch. It is over 20 feet wide 
and carries huge croppings of quartz. The discovery and recording 
of the lode date back to September 9, 1867. Several companies 
have formed to work it. The Hope Company owns 1,800 feet, 
known as the Mills location. Eddy & Co. have located a claim of 
2,600 feet, west of Atlantic Gulch, and their shaft is 70 feet deep. 
The Colonel Lewis Company joins the Hope Company on the east 
with 600 feet. Five tons of ore from this lode are reported to have 
yielded $18.85 per ton. A 30-stamp mill is about being erected to 
work the ores, which are so abundant and so easily extracted and 
treated that by working on a large scale a yield of even less than 
$ 1 per ton will pay. 

Between Atlantic Gulch and Rock Creek, Lamaroux & Wilson 
own the Golden Leaf lode. They were testing their ore in an 
arrastra; the result was not known at the time. 

The Silas Wright, Lone Star, and St. Lawrence, near Anthony's 
sawmill, on Slate Creek, have been opened by shafts. Ore, yielding 
from $ 1 3 to $ 1 5 per ton, has been extracted from the Silas Wright, 
the shaft on which is 20 feet deep. 

The St. Lawrence shaft is 30 feet deep, and the ores contain 
gold, silver and copper. The Lone Star shaft, 45 feet deep, shows 
a lode of three and a half to four feet wide. It is owned by Davis, 
Colloms and others, and was discovered and recorded November 
25, 1867. The Emerald Isle, being similar in character to Lone 
Star, is supposed to be an extension of the same. 

The Miner's Delight lode, traversing Spring Gulch near its head, 
and about 1 ,000 feet above the town of Hamilton, is owned, to the 
extent of 800 feet southwest of the discovery shaft, by Frank Mc- 
Goven, J. Holbrook, J. L. Walsh, and others. The discovery shaft 
is located on the east side of the gulch. It is 50 feet deep, and was 
accidentally burnt a short time ago. About 100 feet, and about 


130 feet still further on has been sunk to a depth of 100 feet, and 
about 1 30 feet still further on is a third shaft, 65 feet deep. Two 
horse-whims have been constructed to hoist ore and water. After 
the addition of the second whim, it was possible to keep the water 
down; it had troubled the miners very much before, and even 
forced them to stop sometimes. At the bottom of the last men- 
tioned shaft a cross cut leads to the lode. Drifts have been started, 
one 20 feet to the southwest, the other 25 feet to the northeast. 
The lode is here three and one-half feet wide on an average, and 
carries excellent ore from wall to wall. About fourteen inches of 
it consists of white, transparent quartz in loose pieces. Coarse 
particles of gold can be distinguished in it along the whole length of 
the drift. The balance of the lode consists of decomposed quartz, 
resembling shale, of dark color and very rich in gold. At a depth 
of 25 feet from the surface, a drift, 105 feet long, has been run 
northeast in the direction of the main shaft. The main and dis- 
covery shaft are connected at a depth of 50 feet by a drift, from 
which the ore has been worked out by back-stoping up to near the 
surface. Fifty men, at $5 per day, are usually employed by the 
company to sink, drift, and stope. The width of the ore streak in 
the southwest part of the vein varies from six inches to five feet. 
It has been found that the ore is richest in the narrowest parts of 
the lode. 

The northwest claim on this lode, 600 feet long, has recently 
been bought by W. D. Matheney for $50,000. It is here six feet 
wide, and a large quantity of ore had been extracted and worked 
out at the mill previous to the sale. 

The Bennet Line lode, between Spring Gulch and Yankee Gulch, 
has been opened by a shaft 50 feet deep. The lode stands first 
perpendicular, and assumes at a great depth a dip of 75 east. Its 
course being nearly north and south, the continuation of it would 
meet the Miner's Delight on the west side of Spring Gulch. One 
foot in width of the ore, consisting of white quartz, is said to be 
very rich. 

The Worldbeater lode, in the same neighborhood, is so far, really 
innocent of beating the world. The quartz it contains is two to 
two and one-half feet wide, and lean. 

The Miner's Delight mill has ten stamps, and is driven by a 40 
horsepower engine, which uses two and one -half cords of wood per 
day. The stamps weigh 425 pounds each, and crush from 10 to 12 
tons of ore per 24 hours. They are geared to fall 14 inches, at the 
rate of from 40 to 70 drops per minute; 70 for hard and 40 for 
decomposed quartz. The tailings lost here are very rich in both 
gold and quicksilver. 

This mill has been running all the time from January 14, 1869, 
to July 5, with the exception of only twenty-five days used for 
cleaning up and repairing. It is owned by Holbrook, McGovern & 
Walsh. Their charges for hauling and crushing a ton of ore are 



$15. The ore worked so far, has averaged about $40 per ton; 
some of it yielded as high as $200, some only $16 per ton. It is 
estimated that the mill has extracted from $60,000 to $70,000 
worth of gold from ore taken out of the Miner's Delight lode. 

The third mill, put in operation on June 25, 1869, was brought 
to the Sweetwater mines from Colorado, and is a 10-stamp mill, 
belonging to Anthony & Irwin. It is situated at Atlantic City, and 
run by an 8 horse-power engine. The stamps weight 450 pounds 
each, and drop very slowly. Seventy-five tons of ore crushed here 
from the Soles and Perkins lode yielded $1,71 1 in bullion, or at the 
rate of nearly $30 currency per ton. 

Table of stamp-mills in operation, under construction, 

to the mines. 

and on the way 




Drop in 




1. Hermit 







In operation 
In operation 
In operation 
Nearly completed 
Nearly completed 

2. Miners' Delight 

3. Anthony's 

4. Elkhorn 

5. Young America 

6. Kidder & Mason 

Nearly completed 

7. Rice & Co 

Nearly completed 

8. Collins & Co 

On the road 

9. Collins & Co 

On the road 

10. Wheeler, Hall & Jeffers.. 

On the road 

11. Wheeler, Hall & Jeffers.. 

On the road 

12. Mammoth Company 

On the road 



Gold has been found in nearly every gulch in the Sweetwater 
district, but the attention of miners being more prominently directed 
towards prospecting for lodes and quartz mining, gold washing has 
been rather neglected so far. Several gulches, however, as for 
instance Spring Gulch, Cariso Gulch, and several claims on Rock 
Creek, have been and are worked profitably. The gold dust is 


generally rough and not rounded off, showing that it has not trav- 
eled far. Very little is, indeed, found at any considerable distance 
from the lodes. Near the veins, however, the claims are usually 
very rich. 

The inclination of Spring Gulch is only five degrees. McGovera 
& Co. have worked in this gulch for some time. They have taken 
out as much as $220 a day with three hands; but during last sum- 
mer the general drought prevented operations to a great extent and 
left them only a few inches of water. The pay gravel is about three 
feet thick, and only a few feet below the surface. The largest nug- 
get taken weighed six ounces. 

Yankee Gulch and Meadow Gulch run parallel to the foregoing. 
They are rich in gold, but the lack of water prevents them from 
being worked at present. It is reported that all the above-men- 
tioned gulches can be supplied with plenty of water by a ditch to be 
run from Beaver Creek. 

The diggings in Willow Gulch prospect in spots as high as six and 
eight cents to the pan; the general average, however, is about $3 
per day to the hand. 

The claims on Cariso Gulch and Rock Creek have paid well. 
Some gold has been taken from Atlantic, Hermit, and Smith Gulch- 
es; but on the whole, gulch m inin g is still in its very infancy in the 
Sweetwater district, and a large field remains open for prospectors. 

The following is a more detailed statement in relation to the 
productiveness of the different gulch-mining claims, and a list of 
the mill ditches on Rock Creek, above Atlantic City. 

Smith's Gulch, between Atlantic City and Hamilton. — First 
claim, above the road, 3 men wash out 4 ounces 16 pennyweights 
per week; 2d claim, below the road, 3 men wash out 6 ounces per 
week; 3d claim, below the road, 6 men wash out 18V4 ounces per 
week, (a nugget worth $34 was found in this claim;) 4th claim, 
below the road, not worked at present; 5th claim, below the road, 
2 men wash out 4 to 5 ounces per week; 6th claim, below the road, 
2 men wash out $50 per week; 7th claim, mouth of Atlantic Creek, 
4 men wash out 6 ounces per week. 

Rock Creek, below Atlantic City. — First claim produces $3.50 
to the hand per day; 2d claim, below, belonging to Rice & Co., $12 
to the hand per day; 3d claim, below, belonging to Rice & Co., $8 
to $10 to the hand per day; 4th claim, below, George Wilson pro- 
prietor, produces $10 to the hand per day. 

Mill ditches on Rock Creek, above Atlantic City. — They are 
given as they succeed each other, commencing with the lowest one. 
1st, Pease & Co., 126 rods long, with arrastra; 2d, Tatler & Monroe, 
132 rods long, 3d. Spring & Wilkenson, 160 rods long; 4th, H. 
Hahn and M. G. Pohl, 150 rods long; 5th, Rice & Co., 10-stamp 
mill, with turbine water-wheel; 6th. Buckeye Company, 140 rods 
long, with arrastra; 7th, open; 8th, H. Hahn, M. G. Pohl & Co., 
claim 1 ,200 feet, no ditch yet. 



Miner's wages are $5 currency per day; surface laborers receive 
from $3.50 to $4. Lumber costs from $50 to $100; mining timber, 
seventy-five cents to one dollar for a twenty-foot log, or $5 to $10 
per cord, delivered at the mine. Common powder costs $10 per 
keg; quicksilver, $90 to $100 per tank, or $1 per pound; wood, $3 
to $5 per cord. A 10 stamp mill, California pattern, including 
freight, cost of erection, &c, costs $15,000; a 20-stamp mill, 
$20,000. Minimum cost of mining one ton of ore is $2; the aver- 
age, from $5 to $10. Minimum cost of reduction at the Hermit 
mill is $2 for hauling and $3 for crushing. 


The gross amount of bullion extracted in the Sweetwater mining 
district during the year from July 1, 1868, to July 1, 1869, is 
estimated, according to the best information obtainable, to be 
$155,000 coin. 

This sum total is certainly small in comparison with the amounts 
of bullion produced by the neighboring Territories of Montana, 
Idaho and Colorado; but it becomes large when we consider that it 
is the opening industry of a country which but two years ago was 
an unknown and unexplored desert, remote from the civilized 
world, and practically inaccessible. The fact that a small number 
of poor miners have brought this gold to light by their own nerve 
and persevering energy, unassisted by capital, suffering from want 
of supplies and accommodations, and facing the most terrible In- 
dian atrocities, speaks well for the value of the mineral resources 
of the district. Indeed, the pioneers of Sweetwater may be proud 
of the result of their labors, and the whole country may rejoice and 
thank them for having reclaimed such a valuable portion of the vast 
wilderness of the great West to civilization and industry. In return, 
it becomes the duty of the government to protect these men in the 
future against further Indian outrages, and to extend freely such 
general aid to them as is consistent with the institutions and laws 
of a democratic republic. 


ROAD TO SARATOGA IS ASSURED. In our last issue we 
mentioned the fact that the citizens of Saratoga had pledged them- 
selves to contribute $100,000 to a Boston syndicate which pro- 
posed to build a railroad from Fort Steele up the Platte River to 
Saratoga, a distance of twenty-eight miles. Since then the pro- 
moters have incorporated under the name of the Wyoming South- 
ern Railway Company, the officers of which are: President, H. A. 
Framback, Denver, Colo.; General Manager, H. H. Boyce, New 
York City; Secretary, F. Chatterton, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Chief En- 
gineer, T. J. Milner, Denver, Colo. The next step was the pur- 
chase by the Wyoming Southern Company of the old grade of 
the Union Pacific, which was made in 1890 for a distance of 
twenty miles out from Fort Steele, but was never used. A corps 
of surveyors was then engaged and the entire line, including the 
twenty miles of old grade, was surveyed, together with grounds for 
depot and yard purposes both at Fort Steele and Saratoga. On 
the 7th inst. the company purchased the Teller ties, some 36,000 
in number, which were seized by the Government last fall because 
they had been cut on Government land, paying cash for them at 
the rate of thirty-five cents per tie. The sale amounted to about 
$13,000. The ties, which have been piled up along the North 
Platte River near Fort Steele, will at once be distributed along the 
grade of the new road. From the best information obtainable, it 
is believed to be the intention of the new company to let the con- 
tracts for repairing the old grade and constructing the eight miles 
of new grade some time during the present month and rush the 
work to completion with all possible speed. That this road will 
be built this summer seems to be an assured fact, and ere long, 
perhaps before snow flies again, the locomotive will be seen puffing 
and snorting in the usually quiet town of Saratoga. 

— The Wvoming Industrial Journal 
Vol. 1, No. 2, July, 1899 

All persons in want of situations can obtain the use of our adver- 
tising columns free of charge, providing notice does not exceed 
three lines. For each additional line ten cents will be charged. 

Casper Weekly Mail, January 25, 1889 

Should Congress pursue its partly expressed intention of abolishing 
this Territory the prettiest name on the list will be lost — "Wyo- 

The Evanston Age, December 20, 1872 

Why a Pioneer? 

Frank Tschirgi 

As the request of his children, Frank Tschirgi recorded his recol- 
lections of life on an early-day Wyoming homestead. He answered 
the question, "Why a pioneer?" in the introduction to his manuscript. 
His grandfather, a Russian general, migrated to Switzerland when the 
Swiss republic was founded. His father, in turn, left that country for 
the United States to settle in Dubuque, Iowa, where he established a 
brewery. With a heritage of pioneering on new frontiers, fifteen-year- 
old Frank Tschirgi, in 1883, traveled to Wyoming to join an older 
brother, George, who was homesteading near Sheridan. 

From Iowa he rode an emigrant car on the railroad with his two 
companions for the trip, his brother John, and the son of his father's 
business partner, John Schwind. They took with them a stallion, two 
mares, a Boston bull pup and farm equipment which included a wagon, 
a set of double harness, a hay mower, hay rake, harrow, fourteen-inch 
plow forks, shovels, three trunks, bedding, grub and cooking equip- 
ment, rifles, shotguns and revolvers. 

The extracts published here from the longer original manuscript 
begin with the arrival of the young men at the railroad station in Mon- 
tana. His reminiscences reflect his impressions of his new life from 
that time on. 

In later years the Tschirgi family moved from the ranch to Sheridan, 
where the children grew up and where Mr. Tschirgi engaged in busi- 
ness. In 1939 Mr. and Mrs. Tschirgi moved to Las Cruces, New 
Mexico, and two years later to San Diego, where Frank Tschirgi died 
in 1951. 

This manuscript was made available for publication by Dr. Harvey 
Tschirgi, of Chico, California, a grandson of the author. 

Junction City Station consisted of a small building which housed 
the agent and the telegraph operator, and a railroad eating house. 
The restaurant was on the north side of the track. This railroad 
station was located on the Crow Indian Reservation which, as 
already mentioned, extended from the Yellowstone River on the 
north to the Wyoming line on the south, at a distance of approx- 
imately ninety-five or one hundred miles. For this reason the town 
of Junction City was located on the north bank of the river. I was 
never over there but I judge that the population was about two 
hundred. It was typically a western town where the cow outfits 
and ranchers could obtain their ranch supplies. It was close to 
the Crow Indian Reservation and the railroad which was then 
being built. It was an attractive habitat for gamblers and dance 
hall beauties. The noise of revelry could be heard clear across the 
river with an occasional revolver shot punctuating the hullabaloo. 

We arrived early in the morning and our car was switched onto 
a side track. When the brakeman pulled the coupling pin it meant 


the separation from civilization and we were left alone, high and 
dry, on a side track. When daylight came we opened the door 
wide. ... It was a clear spring morning on the twelfth of March, 
1883. We inhaled deeply of Montana mountain air, jumped out 
and stretched ourselves on the virgin soil. We had a bird's-eye 
view of a level stretch of valley land, edged about a half mile away 
with river bluffs. The valley floor was sparsely covered with grass 
except where the prairie dogs had their towns. A prairie dog's 
town consists of a lot of holes which are connected by underground 
runways excavated by the little animals. Judging from the mounds 
of earth surrounding the hole, the dogs must have a private bed- 
room for each of the family. It was a nice sunny day and we could 
see one or more prairie dogs on every mound. We could hear the 
yip-yip bark of those near at hand. Those farther away were bark- 
ing too, because their tails flipped up and down at each bark. This 
was quite a comical sight for a tenderfoot. 

The prairie dogs did not have the valley all to themselves, how- 
ever, for out a distance from the railroad were several camps of 
freighters, or in western terms, bullwhackers and muleskinners. 
These men handled the mule and ox-teams which drew the large 
covered freight wagons. Generally, they would hitch two or three 
wagons, one behind the other, and use from six to eight ox teams or 
mule teams to draw the wagons, which, when strung out, made a 
long row of oxen or mules to handle. The team in the lead they 
called the lead team and the rear team was called the wheelers. In 
the case of mules the driver rode one of the wheelers and had a 
jerk line attached to the leaders. In the case of the oxen the driver 
walked and had a whip with a long ten-foot lash. This was at- 
tached to a wood stalk and the drivers became expert in handling 
the long lash. They could make it pop like a pistol shot, and I've 
heard them say they could flick a big blue fly off an oxen's back. 
The animals all had names, and when the driver called them they 
responded quickly, or the lash would follow. The freighters usu- 
ally traveled in pairs, so that in case of difficulty on the road, one 
could help the other. On this particular day these freighters had 
their oxen and mules turned out to graze and they always had a 
herder to keep them from going astray night or day. The freighters 
were camped in the valley waiting for the spring freight to come in 
on the railroad. 

They used to haul freight to all intermediate towns between the 
Northern Pacific in Montana, and the Union Pacific in Wyoming. 
In the spring of the year the time consumed to deliver this freight 
was very uncertain, depending largely on the conditions of the 
weather and roads. 

There were no paved highways and in some places the soil was 
what they called "gumbo". I've seen the mud roll up on the wheels 
until they would slide, and sometimes bog down. The life of a 
freighter was no bed of roses. While waiting for freight, these men 


passed the time braiding long whip lashes and making any repairs 
needed on harness or wagons. At night they could find diversion 
across the river. 

We had informed George when we would leave Dubuque and he 
was to meet us at the station. His only means of transportation 
from Pass Creek, Wyoming, to the railroad station would be on 
horseback, a one-hundred mile trek. He was nowhere in evidence 
so it meant we would have to wait, how long we did not know. 
Anything could happen to a lone traveler crossing an Indian reser- 
vation in those days. At any rate, we had to unload the car and 
take care of our livestock — there were three horses and a Boston 
Bull pup (the first of its breed in Wyoming). After having break- 
fast we got the wagon out of the car and assembled it, for it was in 
knocked-down shape. Then we commenced loading the wagon, 
putting in trunks and personal articles, such as rifles, bedding, 
stove, kitchen utensils and chinaware. We also loaded enough 
farming equipment; in fact, all we thought the mares could pull. 
There was still a good load left in the car, but we could not do 
more until George came. 

The prairie dogs kept barking at us so we thought we could 
shoot one and make a closer acquaintance. We got our "22" rifle 
and the first shot evidently was a hit, for the prairie dog dropped. 
We ran up to the hole. He wasn't there. Of course he had 
dropped into the hole. Finally we tried to surprise the prairie dog, 
but we always made a "hole in one", or rather, one in a hole, but 
we always lost our dog. 

As the evening approached with no sign that brother George 
would show up, we agreed to try and hire one of the freighters to 
load the remainder of our goods and deliver the same to the Dana 
Ranch at Fort Custer. We contacted a freighter whom they called 
"Dutch John", and made a contract with him to load the goods on 
his wagon and to start for the Fort the following morning. Dutch 
John had oxen and he figured on making the Fifteen Mile Ranch 
the first day, a fair day's journey for ox teams. There were three 
teams, or six oxen and one wagon. 

About five miles out from Junction, we saw a horseman ap- 
proaching, leading a pack horse. As he came nearer we could hear 
him whistling and "Lo and Behold!" it was none other than George. 
He wore a wide sombrero and had the western tan. He did not 
resemble the pale face who ran away a year before. It was a happy 
reunion. Each of us had much to relate. He rode an Indian pony 
called "Queen". She was a gentle and a smart saddle horse. We 
had camp at the Fifteen Mile Ranch that night. We had the two 
mares hitched to the wagon and put the saddle on the stallion which 
we took turns riding. 

The following morning we struck out after having our breakfast 
and rolling our bedding. It was our first night out in the open and 
we slept very soundly. We were a little sore from the hard ground, 


but after a few nights we got used to it. About six miles out we 
struck soft roads. Snow and rain had made the clay gumbo very 
wet. We were heavily loaded; the wheels would sink in, and the 
gumbo would roll up on the spokes until we would have to stop 
and clear it from them. This caused very slow progress and often 
we thought we would get stuck. We were traveling all the time up 
the Big Horn River valley and finally reached the river crossing at 
the foot of the bluffs upon which Fort Custer was built. 

There were no bridges in the country in those days. The moun- 
tain streams at intervals flowed over rocky formation and wherever 
the rocks occurred the stream was more shallow and swift. This 
created what is called a "ford". These constituted the natural 
bridges for crossing streams. In the spring of the year the moun- 
tain streams were swollen from the melting of the snow in the 
mountains. In the daytime the water would reach its highest level, 
and in the morning the water would be at low ebb. Therefore, as 
we reached the ford at the foot of the bluffs we made camp and 
crossed the river in the morning. There was much cottonwood 
timber along the river across from the Fort and the army had a 
crew of men chopping wood for fuel. On the side where we camped 
there was also the wood chopper's camp, a pretty tough looking 
bunch of men. 

The next morning we let Dutch John lead, since he was ac- 
quainted with the crossing, and we followed his wagon. Our load 
was swept sideways by the force of the current and we narrowly 
escaped being swept downstream. 

The Fort, where we passed through, was built similar to all the 
western forts; a large parade ground, on one side of which was the 
officers' quarters, and on the other side the hospitals and soldiers' 
barracks. Then a large commissary or army supply building, where 
not only the soldiers, but also the civilians could obtain supplies. 
The manager of the store was a Mr. Borup. This commissary was 
one of the few supply points in a radius of fifty miles. In the 
spring of the year when the roads were bad, the inland stores sel- 
dom had a full stock of staple groceries. 

At the Dana Ranch we were assigned a cabin and told we were 
welcome to stay as long as we wished. . . . 

Our cabin was very cozy and after a good night's rest we wak- 
ened to find about six inches of snow on the ground. It was colder 
and still snowing. Mr. Dana, a very jolly, goodhearted man, gave 
us a royal welcome. He had three sons and one daughter. Mrs. 
Dana was a lovely lady, tall and stately, carrying herself like a 
queen. I shall always treasure the memories of associations we had 
with this family. Herbert, the oldest son, was freighting with his 
own outfit at the time, and Ed, the second, was graduated from 
college that year. Newton, the youngest boy, later attended the 
University of Minnesota, and was drowned during his second year 


there. The daughter, Miss Hattie, became the wife of Lieutenant 
Joe Ayleshire. During World War I, Mr. Ayeleshire became Unit- 
ed States Quartermaster General. 

At the end of a week the weather cleared and we prepared to 
journey on to the ranch. We did not wait, however, for the snow 
to disappear because we knew the roads would be heavier after 
melting snow. We loaded all we thought we would need at our 
ranch. The rest we left with Mr. Dana until we could come for a 
second load. I rode Queen, John rode the stallion. We had a 
pigskin saddle, a jockey saddle it was, and a bridle with short reins. 
The western bridles have long reins which are preferable for riding 
cowboy style. George and John Schwind rode on the wagon, one 
drove and the other held the bull whip. 

About seven miles up the Little Horn Valley and to our left, 
high on the river bluffs, was located the Custer Battle Ground. 
There was no monument there at that time other than a large 
wooden cross which could be seen from the road. Later that sum- 
mer we visited the spot, and there was still evidence of the massacre 
which took place in July, 1876, in our centennial year, just one 
hundred years after the Revolutionary War. Here, on this spot, 
General George Custer of the Seventh Cavalry, found his resting 
place. The government has since erected a monument and it is 
now a National Cemetery. 

We proceeded up the valley to the Fifteen Mile river crossing. 
The road became very soft and muddy, although the snow was not 
melted. These mountain valleys have considerable fall, and the 
nearer we approached the mountains, the higher the altitude, and 
the cooler the weather. After crossing the river the road was so 
heavy and our horses, not being accustomed to such heavy work, 
gave out. We were anxious to reach the ranch, so we decided to 
pull the wagon to one side of the road and to travel the rest of the 
way, fifty miles, on horseback. We were now close to the heart of 
the Crow Reservation, and our wagon was loaded with valuable 
merchandise, including two gold watches we were bringing out to a 
couple of George's friends. 

We left all in the care of Providence and struck out with what 
clothing we had. Our bedding we put on the pack horse. George 
and John Schwind rode the mares, I rode Queen and brother John 
rode the stallion with the jockey saddle. Now the discussion arose 
as to what to do with the pup. Brother John volunteered to carry 
her in his arms and, of course, we expected to change about when 
he got tired. So we gave the wagon the once over, covered it with a 
tarpaulin and set out for the next stop, the Forty Mile Ranch, which 
was about fifteen miles farther. These mile posts or ranches had 
been stage coach stations where the horses were changed. The 
incoming stage horses were unhitched and a fresh team of horses 
put on. The drivers and passengers were fed and off they went, 


night or day, rain or shine. The stage station keeper went by the 
name of "Old Jeff." 

After our party got on about three miles, the road, which up to 
then kept right up the valley, now turned off into the hills to avoid 
crossing the river. The valley narrowed at this point for several 
miles and the river snaked its way through, turning from one side 
to the other. The hills were rolling and the road wound up and 
down across them. Melting snow made small rivulets at the foot 
of each succeeding hill, causing the road to be very slippery. At 
the foot of one hill there was quite a pool of water and mud. The 
horses were very thirsty so we stopped to let them drink. The 
stallion waded right in and bowed his neck, threw down his head, 
which brother John was trying to hold up. Having the short 
bridle reins in one hand and the bull pup in the other arm, he tried 
to hold on to both, with the result that the stallion pulled John, 
pup and all right over his neck, landing them head first in the mud 
hole. It's a wonder John did not get hurt. After recovering from 
the shock, John said, "Damn the pup! If she gets to the ranch 
she'll walk." It was fortunate that it was a bright, sunny day, for 
it did not take very long for John's clothes to dry. I took posses- 
sion of the pup for the time being and we started on our way. We 
were all getting pretty tired and the glare of the sun on the snow 
was terrific. 

We were a sore, if you get what I mean, and a happy bunch 
when we reached the low built log structure with the dirt roof, but 
[received] a jovial welcome from our host, Old Jeff. He was 
about sixty, rough shod, and with an old timer's brogue. He must 
have been acquainted with George because I couldn't imagine a 
stranger being so accommodating. It was getting dark, and the 
chill of a March evening accompanied the setting sun. Jeff saw 
that we were all comfortably seated, turned over a few empty 
tomato cases for us to sit upon, and then he threw several chunks 
of wood on to a bed of coals in the huge fireplace. Then he 
promptly set about getting supper ready. In those days in the west, 
we had three square meals, providing the grub was available; 
breakfast, dinner and supper. . . . The kitchen stove was not in 
evidence, (we had one, however, on the wagon). All the meals 
were cooked in the fireplace and the utensils used will linger a 
lifetime in the memories of the pioneer, hunter, cowboy and pros- 
pector. First, came the big black coffee pot which made better 
tasting coffee than any percolator ever invented, and we used 
Arbuckle's coffee in the yellow package — no other. Next came 
the frying pan which was used and polished three times a day. 
The masculine cook of those days surely was an expert in concoct- 
ing the most tasty dishes you could imagine. Of course he had no 
garden, but the tin can provided a good variety of fruits and veg- 
etables. Best of all, and it did not cost a cent, was that only and 
wonderful outdoor appetite. Another unforgettable utensil was 


the Dutch oven in which so many juicy roasts of venison and pota- 
toes were cooked. We also used to bake in them that nice, light 
sour-dough bread. 

Pete Reyolds, an old timer, was one of the most successful and 
best bread-bakers with a Dutch oven. Sour dough was used ex- 
clusively by the bachelors. The way it was made was to mix a 
sponge or batter of flour and water, and to put the batter in a five 
pound baking powder can as a "starter" for the next batch of sour 
dough. Then you added flour, salt, milk or water and enough 
soda. Put the mixture into the oven and before it became light 
enough to raise the lid it was baked a rich brown. Here was a 
king's dish; we put a layer of bacon in the bottom of the Dutch 
oven, then a layer of brook trout, alternating them until the oven 
was full, seasoned the fish, put on the lid, covered the oven with 
red hot coals, and then loosened our belts! 

Well, it never tasted better than the meal Jeff set before us that 
evening. After supper we filled our pipes and spun yarns while 
the embers popped and finally died. Were we ready to go to bed? 
I slept like a log until morning. We didn't get up singing, however, 
but groaning instead, lamenting over our sore muscles and burning 
eyes. We could not face the fire. Old Jeff told us we were snow- 
blind. I have often heard the phrase but never do I want to have 
another such experience. After breakfast, before we left him, Jeff 
took some pieces of charcoal from the fireplace and blackened the 
skin under our eyes to counteract the glare of the snow, and it 
certainly helped. 

We reached the next stage station, called Pass Creek, at the junc- 
tion of the Little Horn River and Pass Creek. Along the road that 
morning we scared some wild geese and startled a few deer. We 
were now ten miles from our destination, the Charles Harvey squat- 
ter claim on West Pass Creek. There were two Pass Creeks, east 
and west, which emerged from the mountains a mile and a half 
apart, joining to form one stream just above Pass Creek Station 
Ranch. The keeper of this station, by the name of Charley Silver- 
lok, was a Swede. He was tall with fair hair and spoke with a 
foreign accent. He was amiable, but peculiar. I later found out 
that he was also a prospector. I was never a hand to inquire into 
another's affairs because of the shady complexions of so many 
newcomers into the isolated country. I gave them the benefit of 
the doubt until proved otherwise. 

We had dinner at the station and after our horses rested we took 
off on the last lap of our journey. The wagon road or trail from 
this point led over a range of hills. We now left the only road in 
the country. When you left the stage road you followed the Indian 
trails and game trails. The valleys of the streams for a distance of 
about ten miles after they left the mountains were narrow but very 
fertile and the grass grew luxuriously. The fall of the country, as 


I have said, was greater along the foot of the mountains, causing 
the streams to have swift currents. 

Charles Harvey was at the ranch to greet us when we arrived that 
evening. Five feet ten inches tall, he was a well built and an 
intelligent man. 1 never got to know him intimately as he did not 
remain more than ten days before leaving for Montana, and the 
Northern Pacific Railroad. The morning after we arrived, Harvey 
said he would go down the creek and bring in one of his pet deer. 
Three quarters of an hour later he returned with a yearling deer 
over his shoulder, and from then on we had an ample supply of 
meat. . . . 

There was a log cabin on the place, built by Harvey. It was a 
two-room affair with a window and a door in each room. There 
was a large fireplace in the center, forming the partition between 
the rooms. Thus both rooms could be heated at the same time. 
The floor was clay wetted down and stomped nice and smooth like 
a cement floor. The roof had log rafters with a covering of tepee 
poles. On top of the poles was a spread of earth covering about 
fourteen inches thick. In the course of time the sun and rain 
caused grass to grow and we had a sod-covered roof. It was lovely 
in dry weather, but the sun caused cracks in the clay and when it 
rained it was preferable to be out in the rain, for on the inside the 
water was muddy. There was no lumber in the country so tepee 
poles were used instead. 

The creek, which v/as about a hundred and fifty yards from the 
cabin, was teeming with native brook trout. You could catch a 
nice mess of fish within an hour. Our first week was a sorrowful 
one, for we were worn out from the trip. I could not face the light 
for five days, and the weather was unsettled. It was good to remain 
indoors and to adjust to our new abode. We had quite a lot of 
things we needed to do in the way of making necessary furniture 
and other conveniences. But we would await the arrival of our 
wagon, for it contained all our tools. We thought we would be able 
to go after it by the first of the following week. In the meantime 
we would arrange additional sleeping quarters. Harvey had a root 
house which was dug out of the hill just behind the cabin. It was a 
roomy one, containing an abundant supply of fine large potatoes. 
Potatoes grew so well and abundantly that it became known by the 
Indians as "Machasta Tepee", (potato house or farm). The root 
house was connected with the cabin so you could enter from within. 

The weather cleared and it was decided that George should go 
after the wagon the following week. Charles Harvey was becoming 
restless, and assured us he would accompany George on his way 
out to civilization. As spring advanced we were very much inter- 
ested in the birds that gradually put in their appearance, returning 
from their winter quarters in the south. Some varieties we had 
never seen before. The wild game was venturing forth from their 
winter haunts to graze on the tender shoots of green grass. I've 


seen the white tailed deer play and frisk like lambs on the sunny 
hillsides. They did not seem to fear the white man and at times 
would come toward you with their long ears pointed forward, 
experiencing curiosity. As you v/alked along the bank of the 
stream you would see the speckled trout jump out of the water in 
his effort to catch a fly. I shall not try to tell any fish stories, but 
in those days you went fishing and caught all you wanted, went 
home and fried or baked them, then forgot about it. 

Speaking of baking trout in a Dutch oven, an old timer told me 
how to do it. After you washed the fish and wiped them dry, you 
sprinkled a little salt over and inside, also a little pepper if you 
desired it. Then you covered the bottom of the oven with sliced 
bacon, alternating this with the fish, to within an inch of the top. 
A bit of lemon juice, if you could get it, improved the flavor. Next 
you placed the lid on the oven, and put it on a bed of hot coals, 
heaping coals on top of the lid. It was baked for two hours, then 
carefully removed and served whole. Before eating it, one took 
hold of the back bone with a fork and lifted it, leaving a boneless 
trout. After all these years it makes my mouth water when it 
occurs to me to think of the trout bakes and venison roasts we 

Brother George and Harvey left the first of the week. The two 
Johns and I were left to shift for ourselves. We passed the time 
doing what we could to prepare storage room for our supplies and 
household goods. We had some fishing tackle and George's 
"Sharp's" rifle with which to get our meat supply. We still had 
some venison from the deer shot by Harvey and also a supply of 
bacon. We were glad when George returned with the wagon which 
contained all the necessary equipment, as well as our guns and 
ammunition. We were also greatly relieved as well as surprised to 
find that nothing had been damaged or stolen. We stored all the 
Dutch John's load at Dana's Ranch until a more opportune time 
for hauling. We were kept busy for several days unpacking and 
arranging our living quarters. 

The two Johns, wishing to get at the game now that they had 
their guns, struck out on a wild duck hunt. They returned with a 
nice string of ducks, and reported seeing some deer. The following 
day they took their rifles but returned empty handed. They had 
encountered deer but failed to hit them and could not account for 
it as they were both good shots. We later found out that "tender- 
feet" were subject to a malady called "Buck Fever". In other 
words, not being accustomed to hunting big game, they became so 
excited they forgot there were sights on the gun and just blazed 

Next day they decided to go over the "Divide" to Stockade Creek 
on a duck hunt. This time they took their shot guns loaded with 
shells of double shot, large enough to use in case they saw some 
wild geese. When they reached the stream they separated, each 


going along opposite banks of the creek which was flanked by tall 
willows and hawthorn. They had shot a number of ducks, when 
John Schwind, going up a hill, was confronted by a deer. He fired 
and it dropped in its tracks. He fired a second shot while it was 
down, advanced closer, pulled out his 35-caiibre revolver and 
emptied it. He then rushed up and cut its throat. He called broth- 
er John who lost no time reaching the spot. They were a mile 
from the cabin with a string of ducks and a deer, a large doe which 
weighed at least two hundred pounds as it lay. This, their first 
deer, they attempted to carry home. It did not occur to either of 
them to remove the entrails. They found a pole, passed it between 
the legs of the deer and each carried an end upon his shoulder. We 
were sitting in the cabin wondering what was keeping the boys so 
long, when we heard someone yelling. There were the Johns about 
two hundred yards away with the deer on the ground between them, 
shouting for help to carry it in. 

We brought the deer to the cabin, hung it up on the ridge pole 
and proceeded to skin it. We started at the hind legs and skinned 
it down to the head. We found no mark showing where the animal 
was injured. I exclaimed the deer had been scared to death, and 
they began to believe it. Upon skinning around the ear, however, 
we found where one BB gunshot had entered the brain. Other 
than that there was not a mark on the deer save where John had 
cut its throat. That was John Schwind's first and last deer. A 
week later brother John got his first deer and the two Johns felt 
more content. 

With plenty of meat on hand I amused myself with catching a 
few trout. We had no fish bait. We attached a piece of red 
flannel to the hook and the trout would strike at it. Well, all play 
and no work soon makes a dull boy, so we planned to do some 
work. We were in need of a barn and a corral. We had been 
using a picket line for the horses. We also intended to fence in a 
smaU piece of ground for a garden. We had to go about three miles 
up the creek to the canyon at the foot of the mountains to cut poles 
for the corral and logs and posts for the barn and fence. The 
barbed wire on our wagon was the first that I knew of in the 
country. No fences were to be seen anywhere. One could jump 
on a pony and ride in any direction without encountering a fence. 
The only roads were game trails. When you came to a stream, as I 
have said, you looked for a shallow ford which usually had a gravel 

The summers of 1883 and 1884 witnessed a number of settlers 
or "squatters", who took land claims on several of the creeks in 
that vicinity. There were Mr. Zackery and family, Bill Smith, a 
bachelor, and Mr. and Mrs. Harris, with their small daughter. 
These people located on East Pass Creek, just over the "divide" 
from our ranch, about one and a half miles. The Harris family 
had a milk cow which was the first in that section, and it was a 


pleasure to go over once in a while to get some milk and butter. 
On Twin Creek there were two bachelors who migrated from the 
Black Hills, South Dakota, Peter Reynolds and Jack Kennedy, both 
of whom later became my best friends. They took adjoining 
claims. The creek bottoms or valleys were not very wide, but 
there was usually table, or what we called bench land between the 
valley and the higher hills or divides. This land, both valley and 
bench, was very fertile, yielding large crops of grain and alfalfa. 
Wheat yields were from fifty to sixty bushels to the acre; oats, 
eighty to one hundred bushels. The tall grass which grew on the 
higher land had decayed upon the ground for so many years that 
there were inches of mulch on the surface of the ground. When 
this was plowed under it would yield unbelievably large crops. 

When the natural resources of this section of Wyoming became 
known it attracted many settlers. The Harris family not only 
brought a cow, but also a flock of chickens. Having more milk 
than the family could use, all the surplus was put into pans and set 
in the yard for the chickens. One morning, while Mr. Harris was 
away, Mrs. Harris heard a commotion in the yard and opened the 
door to investigate. There stood a large silver tip bear, pausing 
in his journey from one pan of milk to the other, licking them clean. 
She grabbed her baby and climbed atop the bed, scared almost to 
death. The bear had no fear. He walked round the cabin, sat 
upon his haunches and peered in the window. The cabin was 
newly built, with one door and one window. His visit was over 
when he finished the milk and he wandered off. This is just one 
example to show that the wild game had not been hunted, especially 
bear, which the Indians feared. Charley Harvey warned me to let 
bear alone. "If you don't know for sure where your bullet is going 
to strike, you better not shoot", he said. "If you wound a bear 
you've a fight on your hands". Bear were plentiful. I counted the 
number I saw the first spring, and when I reached thirty I quit. I 
have ridden within fifty yards of bear, watched them sit upon their 
haunches out of curiosity, size me up, and lope away. . . . 

We plowed some ground and planted a small garden, putting a 
barbed wire fence round it. After the lettuce and other green 
plants were pretty good size, the deer paid us a visit one night, 
jumped over the wire fence, and ate every bit of green stuff they 
could find. It was several years before the garden was safe from 
their depredations. 

The two Johns had stayed their six weeks and returned to Du- 
buque. George took them to the railroad and planned to bring 
the load of goods we stored at Dana's ranch on his return trip. I 
remained to look after the place. It was the first time I had ever 
spent a week without seeing anyone. I must admit it was a lone- 
some week, but I had plenty of reading material and a violin, also a 
guitar, both of which I played well enough to amuse myself. . . . 

When George returned we hired a young man by the name of 


Jim Smith. Bill Smith, his brother, had taken up a place on East 
Pass Creek. He helped us cut timber and haul the logs to build a 
barn and wagon shed. We were soon to experience the first heavy 
rain upon our cabin. It came during the night. Jim Smith and I 
were sleeping in the same bunk. I slept like a log, but was awak- 
ened by a jab in the ribs, and by Jim yelling, "Hey! Get up, you're 
drowning!" This rain had found a crack in the adobe roof and was 
dripping into my ear. I moved over to a dry spot and was soon in 
the Land of Nod. 

Later that summer Jim Smith went over to see his brother only 
to find him dead in his cabin. He had committed suicide with his 
rifle. Why he did it I never heard; but he had a wild look in his 
eye. Two years later another man by the name of Jim Madden 
settled just above the Smith Ranch. He likewise committed sui- 
cide. He had been quite a literary man. There were quite a 
number of immigrants who would file on a piece of land and, at 
the first opportunity, would dispose of their squatter's rights and 
move on. After these first few years, however, the people who 
came were in search of homes. They were the ones who were 
willing to endure the inconveniences of a new country. They built 
a fine development of homes and ranches to be found in Sheridan 
County today, the county known as the "Garden spot of Wyo- 

After the spring rains subsided we experienced some warm 
weather. The months of July and August were hot and dry. The 
Indians made their annual pilgrimage into the mountains. They 
were the first we had ever seen, so it proved to be quite an event. 
In the spring the Indians made it a practice to start a prairie fire 
to burn the dry grass of the previous year. These fires would come 
right up the valley. The flames must have been about thirty feet 
in height and there was a wall of fire across the valley from hill to 
hill. It was a very spectacular sight, but had there been cattle on 
the range, it would have been very disastrous. 

We had just completed our fence along quite a large tract of 
valley land on which we expected to raise some wheat and oats, 
when early one morning we were surprised to hear a bunch of 
horses running past the cabin. A horseman drove his horses 
through our field and left both gates down. We resented his action 
and showed it by taking the rifle and firing a shot over his head. 
He whirled his horse about, rode back to the cabin, made profuse 
apologies and closed the gates. Our horseman later proved to be 
none other than Oliver Wallop, a member of a titled family in 
England. We became good friends. I often spent the night at this 
gentleman's cabin on Little Goose Creek. 

Our nearest post office was a stage station called Ohlman, about 
ten miles from the ranch. We went to the post office once a week, 
horseback. Although we had a cook stove, we preferred to cook 
at the fireplace. We had become accustomed to it and then we 

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could pile short logs on the fire in the evening and enjoy the glow 
with the crackling noise of an open fire. We used to throw the 
Dutch oven lid on to a bed of red hot coals and broil venison steak. 
For four or five years wood was our only fuel. Soon they discov- 
ered coal of excellent quality for cooking or heating. The coal 
beds of this section became worked by large coal companies who 
shipped it to eastern markets via the Burlington Railroad. There 
was plenty of firewood along the creek, old dry trees that had been 
blown down or had been cut down by the beaver. 

1 took old Queen, our saddle mare, one morning to drag in a log 
for firewood. As I was riding along the edge of the brush and 
willows, whistling and enjoying the sunshine, I was startled by a 
crackling of the brush. 1 thought 1 had startled some deer, but 
instead of running from me, the noise approached me. As I turned 
the mare around, a bear popped out of the thicket not more than 
fifty feet from me. He raised up, saw me and fell back into the 
brush. I don't know which was the more scared. The bear must 
have heard the echo of my whistle and instead of running from me 
he had run in the opposite direction. As for me, there was no 
running away for the mare was unconcerned. After recovering 
from my surprise I found a dry log, put one end of my lariat over 
it, wound the other round my saddle horn and dragged it to the 

We had a number of varieties of wild fruit along the mountain 
streams, such as plums, wild cherries, choke-cherries, buffalo ber- 
ries, and service berries which resemble the blueberry. These grew 
on bushes three to ten feet in height. In the mountains you will 
find the wild strawberries and raspberries. Bear are very fond of 
choke-cherries, and service berries. During berry season you were 
very apt to run on to a bear. I have seen them stand on their 
haunches and put their arms, or forelegs about a bunch of berry 
bushes, bending them down to get at the fruit. They are very 
expert at eating them from the bushes. 

I was about to experience my first winter in Wyoming. After 
the first frost and snow storm the weather usually would moderate 
and we would have our Indian summer until about the first of 
November. I never was much of a weather prognosticator. The 
older I got the less I knew about it, but we could bank on having 
more or less of chinook winds during the winter. We could never 
depend upon sleighing. There might be fine, deep snow for your 
sleigh to slide over when you went to a dance, but you might go 
home in mud the next morning. 

We used to have arguments as to what caused a chinook wind. 
It will begin to blow at near gale velocity following sub-zero 
weather. I remember of going to a dance one day in December. 
It was about thirty degrees below zero and there was at least a 
foot of snow. The dance was to be held at Dayton, on the Tongue 
River, fifteen miles away. I was all afternoon making the trip on 


horseback. I stopped and thawed out at Pete Reynolds's cabin, 
and was nearly frozen when I reached the dance that evening. We 
always had a capacity attendance. The hall was over Baker's Gen- 
eral Merchandise store with the stairway on the outside. The 
dancers came from thirty miles around. This event was always 
looked forward to for weeks ahead by Ranchester stockmen, cow- 
boys and ladies. There was no age limit. Dancing was the prin- 
cipal source of amusement, especially during the winter months. 
The most popular dance was the square, or quadrille, and they 
surely made the floor rafters shake. There was always plenty of 
room on the dance floor whenever they played a round dance such 
as a waltz, schottish or polka, because very few cowboys or west- 
erners could dance and reverse. The old style spinning wheel waltz 
made them so dizzy they could hardly leave the floor. We always 
had a jolly crowd and lots of fun. Dancing usually continued until 
just before the break of day, and those who had long distances to 
go would rest with friends living in the neighborhood until the 
following day. On my way home after this December dance a 
chinook wind came up. It was a very warm one and by the time I 
reached the ranch the snow was half gone and the remainder was 
all honeycombed. There was very little water. The evaporation 
was very rapid because the air was dry and the wind carried off the 

This, the first hard winter that I experienced in the Big Horn 
Country, passed into history. Our main concern was the problem 
of keeping enough food on hand to carry us through a snow block- 
ade. As long as the freighters could get through we could contact 
them on the road, six miles from the ranch. They could sell us 
such staples as sugar, coffee, flour and bacon. During the first few 
years there were times when we had to go meat and potatoes 
straight. As a substitute for tea we used red willow bark. The 
outer layer of bark was peeled off and dried. This was a very good 
imitation, having both color and flavor. The winters of the Big 
Horn country were very erratic. I remember one winter when 
after a long cold spell with lots of snow, the weather broke in 
January and the first of February we went to the foot of the moun- 
tains to enjoy an outdoor picnic. One winter it remained open 
until spring, and another year winter set in after the thaw and we 
thought spring would never come. I have seen a foot of wet snow 
in May. Of course, now in my eightieth year, looking back upon 
my pioneer days in the County of Sheridan, from my comfortable 
chair in California, I have formed a pretty good idea of the value 
of a pioneer life. The pioneer is looking forward to the improve- 
ment of his adopted land and community. He takes pride in know- 
ing that his efforts have been recorded in the growth and prosperity 
of his county and state. 

As the spring of 1884 approached, we were looking forward to 
the shipment of a bunch of young cows which my father had a 


drover collect. They were purchased from farmers in Dubuque 
County, Iowa, and were composed principally of the shorthorn 
breed of cattle. They would not be shipped, however, until toward 
summer when the high water in the streams would have subsided 
and the weather became settled. The nearest unloading point, 
where stockyards were available, on the Northern Pacific, was at 
Miles City, Montana. The cattle would have to be driven from 
that point to the ranch in Wyoming. It would have been much 
more practical to have purchased them in Wyoming, but there were 
no cattle to be had. At that time they had not begun to drive the 
large herds from Texas to Wyoming. 

We were agreeably surprised one morning to find a party of 
government surveyors in the country, sectionizing and placing 
monuments at quarter sections. We were now able permanently 
to establish our homestead and some other land we could then 
acquire through the different land laws in force, such as the pre- 
emption, desert and tree claims. The water rights to the land were 
adjudicated according to priority of settlement. We had the first 
water right out of West Pass Creek. We did not realize the value 
of our water rights until later. As the country became settled, 
water became more scarce, and the land having an abundance of 
water for irrigating purposes was valued accordingly. 

We planted several acres of wheat that spring, enough to furnish 
feed for chickens, and flour for our own consumption. Immigrants 
were coming into this section from the Union Pacific on the south 
and from the Northern Pacific to the north of us. They also came 
overland in prairie schooners from neighboring states. We were 
informed that George T. Beck, located on a ranch at the head of 
Big Goose Creek, had started to build a flour mill and would be 
able to furnish settlers with flour if they would bring their wheat to 
the mill. He would accept toll [sic] in payment which was a 
godsend to the country. The settlers would at least not be depend- 
ent on bull-team freighters for flour with which to make bread. 
Mr. Beck was a young man. He established a fine ranch and he 
was a progressive citizen. His flour mill was run by water power 
furnished by Big Goose Creek. The town of Beckton was founded 
at this time and it was a flourishing settlement. 

The population of Wyoming during the eighties grew by leaps 
and bounds. Many large cattle and sheep ranches sprang into 
existence. The town of Sheridan then began to sprout and con- 
sisted of a general trading store, and two or three saloons. The 
store was established by John H. Conrad & Co. There were the 
stage station, or livery barn, and Henry Heald's blacksmith shop. 
The residences, as well as the business places, were constructed of 
logs. Sheridan was about sixteen miles from the foot of the Big 
Horn Mountains, at the junction of the Big Goose and Little Goose 
Creeks, and thirty-five miles from our ranch. Another town by 
the name of Big Horn, at the headwaters of Little Goose Creek, 


aspired to have a larger population than Sheridan. But it had to 
take second place in that section. These settlements, as well as 
our ranch, were included in what was then Johnson County. . . . 

The winter of 1885 was a long and hard one. There was a 
heavy fall of snow and our cattle, accustomed to being fed by hand 
during the winter, wandered up and down the valley, bellowing for 
feed. There was plenty on the hills if they had known how to get 
out and rustle as range cattle do. They became poor and being 
with calf, made the situation more critical. We lost a few of the 
weak ones and, not having put up any hay, we realized something 
must be done at once. There were practically no milk cows in the 
country so we decided to sell the whole lot as such. The settlers 
came for miles around to purchase them. They proved to be 
splendid producers and years after we could see reminders of our 
first cattle venture. 

Shortly after disposing of the cattle, brother George returned 
from a trip to Dayton where he had met two gentlemen who hailed 
from West Virginia. Their names were Billy Robinson and Atley 
Smith. They had been down in New Mexico where they had 
bought a band of Mexican sheep. They drove them overland to 
Wyoming. To George they extolled the hardihood and rustling 
qualities, as well as producing qualities of sheep as compared with 
cattle. Having disposed of our cattle at a good price George up 
and bought the sheep. This finished our first chapter in the live- 
stock business. We now entered upon the second chapter, namely, 
the handling of sheep. . . . 

The sheep George bought were driven to our ranch and had to 
be watched day and night until we built a large corral. We hired 
an experienced herder. He was an elderly man, also named Dutch 
John. We had an abundance of range as there were no fences as 
yet, except our own. We did not have the sheep very long before 
a disease broke out among them called scab. It was caused by an 
insect which could not be discerned by the eye. The wool would 
shed in big spots. Either the sheep had it when in New Mexico, or 
contracted it on the trail to Wyoming. The disease, to our knowl- 
edge, was not then prevalent in the territory. This was quite a blow 
in our fight with the "woolies". We had to build a dipping vat and 
give them a sulphur bath. 

When shearing time came we were due to have another disap- 
pointment. The wool was of such a coarse texture that it com- 
manded a very low price on the market. The only remedy for that 
was to purchase fine wool Merino bucks that would improve the 
fiber. Our next crop of lambs showed a great improvement. They 
not only had a finer wool, but were large and more hardy than 
the Merino, making them a good mutton as well as an improved 
wool crop. 

About the summer of 1886, father paid us a visit. Of course, 
he had gone through the pioneer stage in his younger days when 


they had to do with what they had at hand, or do without. We 
boys always had a good home and father was overcome when he 
saw what we were happily undergoing in an effort not only to be 
self-supporting, but also to lay the foundation for a lucrative occu- 
pation. I afterward heard that he went around to the rear of the 
cabin to give vent to his emotions. He insisted that we lay a lum- 
ber floor in the cabin at once. We did not know of any lumber to 
be had in the country, but we got busy and found out that a man 
had built a water powered sawmill on Piney Creek about forty 
miles distant. 

We sent the wagon over to get the necessary lumber, which, of 
course, was just as it came from the sawmill, with the rough sur- 
face; but it was a great improvement over the dirt floor. 

We then set up the cook stove which we had stored away ever 
since we arrived in the country. We also got down china ware, 
having used tin cups and plates until father came. We now felt as 
though we were at least semi-civilized. We had retained two good 
milk cows and had more milk than we could consume. The little 
bull pup which was rescued from the mud hole and which I have 
not mentioned since that episode, was the mother of five little pups. 
Fortunately we had an abundance of milk and whenever we went 
to the corral to milk the cows the dog with her pups would trail 
behind to get their breakfast. There was a large pan we filled for 
them. It was a comical sight to see them coming back to the cabin 
after they had had their fill. First came mother dog, about a third 
larger than before, then the little pups following her, swollen up 
like a string of bullfrogs. 

I forgot to mention that when we got the lumber for the floor we 
also brought enough boards to cover the roof. We used long poles 
or logs about six inches in diameter on which to nail the boards. 
From then on we enjoyed the comfort of a dry cabin. . . . 

Many of the new arrivals, most of whom were well educated, 
cultured citizens, who foresaw a life of good health and happiness 
in this portion of Wyoming, filed on land, built cabins, and after 
improving their ranches, climaxed their efforts by bringing a wife, 
without whom you have no home. Many went to Wyoming, to 
establish themselves in a professional or commercial life. A few 
of the large cattle outfits moving in about this time were the O. Z. 
Ranch, whose foreman was Henry (Hank) Williams. Mr. and 
Mrs. Williams were very popular. The 0-4 Ranch was located 
just above the present town of Ranchester, at the confluence of 
Wolf Creek and Tongue River. The O.Z. Ranch was located on 
Tongue River above the 0-4. I remember riding on the round-up 
with J. B. Kendrick at the time he was foreman of the 0-4 outfit. 
The third "cow outfit" was that of Kilpatrick Brothers on Soldier 
Creek, known as the P.K. Ranch. Its foreman was Harry Fulmer, 
a popular man among his associates. He later became county 
treasurer of Sheridan County. 


The cattle of the O.Z. and 0-4 brands ranged principally on the 
range west and north of Tongue River, while the P.K. cattle ranged 
south and east of the river. As the country became more settled 
and the immediate range became curtailed, we were confronted 
with the fact that in order to continue in the sheep business we 
would be compelled to seek a range that was unsuitable for agri- 
culture and would provide a large territory on which to graze our 
sheep. We also learned that sheep were very unpopular where 
there were many settlers who had small herds of cattle, as cattle 
do not like to graze on grass that has been trodden or grazed by 
sheep. We were also averse to leading a nomad's life of trailing 
over the country in a sheepwagon. So the only solution was to 
dispose of the sheep and start anew with cattle. We now had the 
ranch improved so as to put up enough hay to take care of the 
weaker cattle and cows with calves in the winter. We sold quite a 
bunch of sheep to two brothers who had migrated from New York, 
and purchased a ranch on Twin Creek, about six miles east of our 
ranch. Their first winter was a hard one, and without feed the 
sheep became poor and weak. One day John Arbogast, one of the 
brothers, came over and reported that they had lost quite a few 
sheep and wanted to know why the sheep all died with their feet 
"uphill". Of course, it seemed quite an unusual question to us, 
and we could not help laughing. The land where the sheep ranged 
was hilly and it was natural that the sheep, when they fell, would 
fall down hill. The balance of the sheep we sold to a butcher at 
Fort McKenzie, [sic] near Buffalo, Johnson County, Wyoming. 
We at once shipped in another bunch of young cows from Iowa, by 
way of Miles City, Montana. We branded them at the pens with 
the Antler Brand and drove them to the ranch. The O.Z. Cattle 
Company had shipped in about three hundred thoroughbred bulls 
and had built a large corral in which to keep them at night. Cow- 
boys herded them on the range during the day. The result was 
that our cows yielded a fine crop of white-faced calves the following 

There were some interesting characters among the cowboys that 
came over the trail from Texas, with the large cattle droves. One 
fellow, whom they called "Choke Cherry Bill", was a happy, 
comical sort, and the only newspaper we had. I expect that every 
newcomer settler had as his first caller, "Choke Cherry Bill". A 
family, newly arrived, from Arkansas, settled on a claim up in the 
East Pass Creek Canyon. I doubt if there was a level acre of 
ground on it. Of course, I got my first news from "Old Choke." 
He was a young man, but old, according to cowboy lingo. Well, 
"Choke" said there was an old couple with half a dozen "kids" 
settled in the canyon, and the old man had two legs, but one was 
shorter than the other. "Cherry", out of curiosity, asked, "What 
on arth did you locate up here for?" "Wal, you know", said the 
old man, "it's easier for me to walk on a side hill on account I kin 


keep my short leg uphill." After that "Choke" dubbed him, "The 
Sidehill Gudgeon." Another newcomer, Mrs. Stewart, an amiable 
old lady, told "Choke" about their wanderings, adding, "You know, 
Mr. Stewart is a roving temperament, and on some especially beau- 
tiful morning he would exclaim, "what a fine morning to start 

There were also, no doubt, many sad stories which remained 
hidden under a blanket on the prairie of a starry night. For, why 
should a man want for his constant companion, both awake and 
asleep, a forty-five Colt revolver? I have had two of the boys 
volunteer to tell me why they came to this wild and sparsely settled 
country, with a herd of wild Texas cattle. One had been inveigled 
by a companion to join a gang of stage robbers. During one of 
their hold-ups there were killings. A posse of the law was in hot 
pursuit and he managed to get away by coming thrugh uninhabited 
country of Wyoming. Another, whom I have known for years as a 
respected citizen and a trusted county official, escaped to Wyo- 
ming, to gain his freedom. But, regardless of these infractions of 
the law, I know that there are very few offenders among the young 
men who have located in Wyoming, and made of it a bright spot 
in the United States. 

Most of the young men who settled in Sheridan prospered and 
became solid citizens. Many of the land claimants, after living on 
the land until it had monetary value, sold out and moved away. 
Some "cow" outfits, in order to exclude immigrants from their 
range lands, would resort to the practice of having cowboys file on 
land surrounding some water hole, and, after obtaining title to said 
land, would transfer it to the "cow" outfit for a small sum of 
money, thus corraling the water supply. 

So, between the homesteaders and the sheepmen, the cattle 
outfits had a large problem to solve. It culminated in many feuds, 
lawsuits and killings. The cattle war which took place in the 
Powder River country in Johnson County, Wyoming, was caused 
by mavericking. A maverick was an unbranded animal, usually a 
yearling, which escaped the branding iron and was weaned from its 
mother. Every cattleman had a brand which was recorded in 
Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming. A maverick might belong to 
any of the cattlemen who had cattle on the range and if a cow-man 
ran across a maverick he felt at liberty to put his brand on the 

This practice of obtaining an unmarked animal was an incentive 
for the cowboy to adopt a brand and carry a branding iron while 
riding the range and brand any maverick he might see. When the 
cattlemen saw cowboys accumulating a herd by mavericking, they 
formed a state cattle association and blackballed all those brands 
which originated with the maverick. They had an inspector in 
every cattle market to seize every animal bearing a blackballed 


brand. This put the burden of proof of ownership on the cowboy 

Before the Burlington Railroad entered Wyoming, we were 
obliged to ship our beef cattle to the cattle yards at Custer Station, 
Montana, some hundred and ten miles from their range. Six or 
eight of our neighbors had small herds of cattle. In order to drive 
the long distance to the railroad, as well as take care of our cattle 
on the range, we arranged among ourselves to hold a semi-annual 
round-up for the purpose of branding the calves and gathering the 
beef cattle in the fall. It took us about twelve days to make the trip 
with a herd of beef cattle. The cattle were exceptionally fat and 
we had to graze them on their journey in order to keep them from 
losing flesh. 

Some settlers who had less than a carload of steers, could not 
afford to ship them. I would purchase their animals, giving them 
my note, payable when the animals were sold. This proved to be 
profitable for me and very convenient for my neighbors. On one 
of my shipments I had to purchase six steers from a young man 
by the name of Bill Carroll, who had recently married a daughter 
of a respectable neighbor. Upon arriving at the stockyards in 
Chicago, these six steers were promptly cut out of the corral by the 
cattle associations' inspector and I was informed that the brand 
which the cattle bore was blackballed. This occurred before the 
cattle war and before I had heard of the cattle association. I was 
informed by the inspector that if I wished any redress to consult 
the Wyoming Cattle Association. Upon my return 1 consulted my 
lawyer, Mr. L., who informed me that it looked as though I was 
"stung" but for me to wait and he would endeavor to make a settl- 
ment with Carroll. The result was that I got off by paying half of 
the value of the animals. The cattle association sold all blackballed 
cattle which were seized and turned the proceeds into the Associa- 
tion's treasury. Such funds were used for defraying the costs of 
any lawsuit and salaries of its detectives. The result was a very 
bitter cattle war 

While on this subject, I may as well relate an incident which 
occurred a short time later when the Burlington Railroad was about 
to extend its line from Nebraska, northwest into Wyoming, thence 
to Montana. The Railroad established a camp in the Big Horn 
Mountains at the head of Tongue River for the purpose of cutting 
ties for its construction. They built a long flume down the river 
canyon and floated the ties down the flume to the mouth of the 
Canyon, thence down the river the present site of Ranchester, 
Wyoming. It was a large camp and employed a great many men 
who in turn required much food. About this time different ranch- 
ers in our neighborhood were complaining that some of their cattle 
turned up missing. Rumors of cattle "rustling" were rife. There 
was a card party at our ranch about this time and word got out 
that the cattle "rustlers" were to make a drive that night. No doubt 


they thought that most of the cattlemen in that community would be 
occupied with cards and hilarity, and it would be an opportune time 
to carry out their scheme. It was a beautiful moonlight night. We 
organized a reception committee, armed with rifles, and were 
stationed along the trail in Pass Creek Canyon to await the "rus- 
tlers." We did not have long to wait for the mooing of the cattle 
and noise of their hoofs on the rocks heralded their approach. The 
cattle were allowed to pass and at the word "hands up," the "rus- 
tlers" looked dov/n the barrels of half a dozen rifles. Next day the 
two "rustlers" were out on bond. Bill Carroll was one of them and 
he jumped his bond and fled the country. The others went to the 
penitentiary. . . . 

It was about this time that I had my first experience as a cowboy. 
I had only one saddle horse and the boys of the 0-4 and O.Z. 
ranches invited me to join the round-up and gather any of our 
cattle that might have strayed off their range. All I was asked to 
bring was my bed roll and they would furnish me with extra horses. 
The grass was good and the hills a velvet green. We were rousted 
out of our beds about the break of day by the cook hammering a 
triangle gong. A cowboy's bed roll consisted of a large tarpaulin, 
which would cover the ground under the blankets and could be 
drawn up over the top of the bed, making a waterproof protection 
above and below. It was customary when you crawled in to draw 
the tarpaulin over your head so that in case of rain during the night 
you could sleep tight regardless of rain or wind. 

One night, after having been in the saddle all day, and feeling 
very tired, I rolled in and was dead to the world until awakened 
by the cook's gong. I peeked out from under the canvas and it was 
a beautiful, clear morning. I cocked up my knees and poked out 
my head just in time to receive a flood of water in my face. It took 
a moment to figure out how it happened. We had a rain during the 
night and a small pool of water had gathered in a depression in the 
tarp and my morning bath was prepared. My habit of raising my 
knees turned the trick. 

By the time I was dressed, and had rolled my bed, the cook 
called out, "Come and get it." A bunch of about twenty cowboys 
made a beeline for the chuck wagon, grabbed a tin plate and cup, 
knife and fork, and helped themselves to whatever the cook's menu 
happened to be. A good cup of coffee and a fruit plum pudding 
was a favorite dessert. The beef was young and tender. It was 
natural for a cowboy to have a ravenous appetitie and it was cer- 
tainly heartening to see him go after it. The night horse wrangler, 
or herder, has the saddle horses in a rope corral, and. after breakfast 
each man takes his lariat and catches the horse he chooses to ride 
that morning. Each cowboy is furnished with about eight horses, 
called his "string." Once in a while there are some broncs among 
them, and of an early cold morning they are apt to make their rider 
pull leather. Tenderfoot as I then was, the boys were very good to 


me and did not load me onto a really bad horse. Of course I ex- 
pected them to have some fun at my expense, but it was all in good 

After mounting our horses, the roundup foreman would tell his 
plans for the day and distribute the boys over the section to be 
covered. They were to gather all the cattle to be found and drive 
them to a central point or roundup, it is a sight to see small herds 
of cattle driven from all directions toward the same point. When 
the drive is all in, the herd is held by the cowboys, while a few of 
the men ride through it to cut out the cows which have calves. This 
is called the "calf herd." The work on the spring roundup, other 
than to brand the calves, consists of gathering strays to be returned 
to their proper ranges and any other work the cattlemen may wish 
done. The cattle are then turned loose until the fall round-up, 
when the beef cattle are gathered for shipment. These cattle form 
the beef herd which is herded night and day until time of shipment. 
The calves are also branded in the fall. 

To me, the most exhilaraitng part of a cowboy's life is going out 
on "circle." In other words, the ride, starting out on fresh spirited 
horses — a whole bunch of them — snorting and eager to go; the 
fresh, pure air before sun-up. We give them their heads and we are 
off on a run, anywhere from six to eight miles without a stop, until 
we arrive at the head of the drive where the foreman directs his 
men. The "mess" or "chuck" wagon is usually camped close to 
where the roundup is to be held and at the end of the drive the boys 
head for dinner, leaving a few men to hold the herd. After dinner, 
and a change of horses, the cowboys continue to work the herd. 

The cowboy life stands apart from most any other and I, there- 
fore, wish to give those of my readers, not yet informed, an idea 
of some of his duties. Because of the important part that meat 
plays in our lives, it certainly will be of interest to know where a 
great part of this vital food comes from. The life of a cowboy need 
not be a life without aim or aspiration, as there are many spare 
moments when a cowboy can improve his leisure time by study, and 
reading good literature. There are many examples of successful 
men who have been cowboys and cowmen; the life on the open 
range has a lesson all its own; a builder of brawn and character and 
close communion with the Creator. 

About this time brother George went east and married a Miss 
Teresa Heinrich, daughter of Frank Heinrich, a farmer of Dubuque 
County, Iowa. They went to housekeeping in the cabin until a 
better house could be built. Lumber was now available at several 
saw-mills. By this time most all the tillable land was filed on by 
immigrants, and the social gatherings and dances were more fre- 
quent, as there were quite a number of girls among the new arrivals. 

We had purchased a light spring wagon with two seats; the rear 
seat was just at the end of the box. It had a high cushioned back 
and was detachable, having little hooks which hooked into small 


iron staples placed inside of the box. I hitched my team of small, 
gentle horses to the spring wagon and sallied forth to take a young 
girl to a dance. The girl and I were about to start out from her 
home when a young fellow, Fred B., dressed in his best clothes, 
asked if he might go along. Knowing Fred quite well and also that 
he attached himself to the girls like a shadow, I said, "Of course, 
jump in." To be sure, he had the back seat all to himself. We 
were going at a pretty good rate when we approached a small hill. 
At the foot of it there was an irrigation ditch and travel at the 
crossing had formed a pool of water. I did not check speed, no 
doubt being preoccupied, and we dropped in and just as suddenly 
jumped out. It was quite a jolt. Looking back to see if all was 
well, I was amazed to see neither the seat nor the passenger. Look- 
ing back over the end of the box I saw the rear seat with the high 
back in the middle of the pool; just then the seat raised up and our 
friend Fred came to life and slowly crawled out from under it. I 
don't believe I ever saw a more woebegone creature. He was mud 
from head to foot. Fred "hoofed" it back home. The sudden jolt 
had unhooked the back seat and caused seat and Fred to take a 
backward somersault. I heard afterward that he thought it was a 
"put-up" job. Although I have had many a laugh over the inci- 
dent, it was not premeditated. 

About this time an event took away the monotony of life on the 
ranch. A "Pioneer" put in his appearance, "a-whoopin' and 
a-hollerin' " like a cowboy. He only weighed seven pounds and 
they named him Matthew, "Matt" for short. Brother George al- 
ways did walk erect, but now I thought he leaned backward, strut- 
ting around like a peacock. Matt got to be a handsome baby. He 
took first prize at a baby show at the fall fair at Big Horn, 
Wyoming. . . . 

Through all these years I kept up a steady correspondence with 
the girl of my dreams, Ella Simplot, of Dubuque, Iowa. It was 
only eight miles to the postoffice at Ohlman, and I did not think 
of the distance going, but if I did not get a letter it seemed a long 
way coming back. 

We had a good crop of whiteface Hereford calves that spring, 
and were prepared to take care of them. Their mothers were 
shorthorn Durham cattle, also shipped from Iowa. We had 
threshed a good crop of grain. We staked the straw next to the 
corral. We then built a number of stalls, covered the straw, in 
which to shelter the cows during calving time, and we had good 
results. We now seemed to be on the highway of becoming suc- 
cessful cowmen. But it would be three or four years before those 
calves would be large enough to ship to market. We had already 
spent much money and with no immediate income. Brother George 
got restless and went into the grocery business, buying the stock of 
Henry Baker, who was then conducting the store at Dayton, Wyo- 


ming. ... He returned to the ranch after about eighteen months 
of the mercantile business. . . . 

We had now been seven years on the ranch and I have tried to 
give an accurate account of our experiences from the time we left 
Dubuque up to the spring of 1890, the beinning of the "Gay Nine- 
ties." By this time there was very little land available to be filed 
upon. Among the early settlers were quite a number of people 
from the "States" as well as quite a sprinkling of Englishmen, who 
had noble connections in England. 

I was feeling very happy this spring in anticipation of my forth- 
coming marriage on the fifth of June, to the only girl, Ella Simplot. 
We had been engaged about a year. ... I traveled to Dubuque June 
5th, 1890, was a beautiful day . . . and the ceremony was pro- 
nounced and the "I do's" were said under a canopy of fiov/ers. . . . 
[Returning to Wyoming] we arrived at the end of our journey by 
rail, Custer Station, about two o'clock in the morning, and found 
the sleeping accommodations ail taken. The proprietor spread a 
fine buffalo robe over the waiting room couch. He asked Mrs. 
Tschirgi to lie down and rest on it. Since, however, this was the 
first buffalo robe she had ever seen, she thanked him and said, 
"This rocker is quite comfortable." I did not at the time tell her 
how much we had enjoyed the comfort of a buffalo robe on some 
of our cold journeys during the Wyoming winters. 

We were very busy during our first summer harvesting the crops, 
looking after the cattle and building our home. We had some 
laughable incidents at Mrs. Tschirgi's expense, she being a "tender- 
foot," a term applied to newcomers from the east. Every once in a 
while some old timer would call at the ranch to pass the time-o-day, 
as well as to gather some news. Wyoming had just [1869] given 
the women of the state the right to vote, becoming the first state in 
the Union to grant woman suffrage. The state also had a road tax 
for the maintenance of its highways. Its citizens could have the 
option of paying their road tax in cash, or of working it out on the 
roads in their vicinity under the direction of the road supervisor. 
An old timer from Washington Territory, who had settled in the 
neighborhood, called at the ranch and during the conversation, 
brought up the subject of road tax. He told Mrs. Tschirgi that, 
being a voter in the state, she would be required to work out her 
road tax. Well, the first I knew of it was when I found my wife in 
her room in tears; and when I asked her what was the matter, she 
said she did not know she would have to work on the road. . . . 

It was about this time that T. R. Dana and family moved from 
Fort Custer and took up a ranch on Stockade Creek and launched 
on the cattle business. We were delighted to have them as neigh- 
bors, only two miles away. . . . After the Fall shipment of cattle, I 
devoted my time to the completion of our home. Now that brother 
George and I each had our home, I decided to go into business on 
my own. So we divided the land and cattle. I assumed the brand 


"FT." Aside from raising cattle, 1 started to buy steers from 
ranchers who had a few head, but not enough to ship. I also 
bought a bunch of cows from the Wrench Ranch. These were 
successful purchases. The cows produced a fine bunch of hereford 
calves the following spring, and the next fall I shipped the cows, 
which were in good flesh, to be sold as feeders. 

As we were about to enter a long winter, the ladies of our com- 
munity got together and formed a Whist Club. This meant that 
every two weeks we had some enjoyable parties. We entered the 
Gay Nineties earnestly. On June 4th, 1891, we became the parents 
of a baby daughter, who was promptly named Maurine. . . . 

The country by this time was pretty well populated, and a 
schoolhouse was built on East Pass Creek, and pretty well at- 
tended. Mrs. Tschirgi proposed we start a Sunday School at the 
schoolhouse, which we did. The proposition was heartily received 
by the neighborhood. Mrs. Tschirgi was proficient both in music 
and singing and I had my first experience as superintendent of a 
Sunday School. In my younger years during my public school 
vacation, I took a course of Bible study and attended lectures by 
the pastor of the Lutheran Church in Dubuque before becoming 
a member of the church. I had never forgotten the fundamentals 
of that training. The Sunday school on East Pass Creek grew, 
and blossomed into a church. It was the first church at that time 
west of Sheridan, Wyoming. 

Mr. and Mrs. Cody Boal were at that time new arrivals. They 
had bought a ranch on East Pass Creek, and we had the pleasure of 
meeting them at the Sheridan Inn. Mrs. Boal, shortly after 
becoming our neighbor, suggested to Mrs. Tschirgi that we make an 
effort to build a Presbyterian Church. A Mr. Charles Atkinson 
offered to furnish the building site, and the proposition was put up 
to the neighborhood. They received encouragement from all sides, 
and the labor was offered gratis. In the course of a couple of 
months the structure was complete. It was an asset to the com- 
munity to be sure, but alas, after serving about a year it burned to 
the ground. I never heard how or why. . . . About the year 1887 
by brother Arnold arrived with a Mr. Paul to establish a brewery, 
the first in Sheridan County. His family arrived later from Du- 
buque. On August tenth, 1892, we were blessed with another girl 
baby who evidently came to be a playmate for her sister Maurine. 
She was christened Bessie Virginia. . . . 

It was about the year 1900 that I sold my cattle. I wished to be 
free to look for a house in Sheridan. ... A short time [later] I sold 
my ranch to a farmer from western Iowa ... I purchased a house 
on Coffeen Avenue, Sheridan, and prepared to move our family, 
which by now consisted of Mrs. Tischirgi, our two girls, Maurine 
K. and Bessie V., and two boys, Frank Horace and Harvey Sim- 
plot, to Sheridan. Maurine and Bessie were of school age and were 
delighted to go to school. . . . Although I still had a few years to 


graze the cows on the range, and ship beef to the market, I realized 
that I should be responsible for the proper bringing-up of a family. 
We had no school busses, as we have today, and a distance of 
several miles for small children to walk was out of the question. I 
did not hesitate to choose the happiness which was Mrs. Tschirgi's 
and mine in rearing a family of two boys and three girls. . . . The 
college careers of my two boys were nipped in the bud by World 
War I. Maurine, after college graduation, has taught thousands of 
children. Bessie and Evelyn are both happily married. We have 
eight grandsons and two granddaughters. Four of the grandsons 
have served in World War II. 

Across the Plains in 1864 

(a traveler's account, edited by T. A. Larson) 

July 17th We had been ordered to not move on and all emi- 
gration was stopped. After a day's rest we sent a delegation to the 
Col. Marshall of the Post that we are strong enough to protect 
ourselves and need no troops and that we will move on in the 
morning. We have a contempt for the Soldiers. We move on up 
the Platte valley following the River to the Lower Platte Bridge. 
Here the Bozeman or Yellowstone Route or cut off, a new Road 
to Virginia City, branches off to the right. It saves many miles 
but is too dangerous from the Indians. 25 miles further on we 
cross the Upper Platte Bridge and enter the Arapahoe Indian 
country, and our main danger from the Indians is past. From here 
they are not so hostile. 1 '* 

July 2 1 st Our Trains moved out as far as the eye could see, but 
it was too slow travelling for me, so I and my Pony started alone 
again and pushed on ahead. One Mormon train on their way East 
had fought the Indians three days in the Black Hills and had turned 
back for Salt Lake again. 

I pass many trains and "The Packer with the Grey Pony" was 
well known on the Plains that year. I try to camp with trains at 
night, but travel alone all day making ^25 to 30 miles a day. The 
trains average about 12 miles a day. ( I Pass the Red Buttes and 
Mountains are in view on all sides. The Bridger cut off or new 
Road to Virginia City by the head of the Big Horn River and Yel- 
lowstone, here leaves to the right, but it goes through the heart of 

17. Forman refers to a Lower Platte Bridge and an Upper Platte Bridge 
25 miles apart. His upper bridge must have been the well-known one built 
by Louis Guinard in 1858-59 at the west end of present Casper. His lower 
bridge must have been what was left of one of two older bridges. One, often 
mentioned, was built in 1852-53 by John Richard, who was often called 
Reshaw, five or six miles below the site of the 1858-59 bridge. To say that 
this was Forman's lower bridge requires the assumption that in some way 
5 miles was mistakenly written 25 miles. The other possibility is that his 
lower bridge was the one located one mile above Deer Creek and mentioned 
by three diarists in 1 850 but not mentioned by later diarists except Forman. 

Forman says that the Bozeman Trail branched off to the right at Lower 
Platte Bridge. The main Bozeman Trail, which was not opened until 1865, 
crossed the North Platte near present Orin Junction about 40 miles east of 
Deer Creek. However, some emigrants on their way to Montana did leave 
the Oregon Trail somewhere west of Deer Creek in 1864 (See Grace Ray- 
mond Hebard and E. A. Brininstool, The Bozeman Trail (Cleveland: A. H. 
Clark, 1922),!, 213-228). 


the Hostile Indian Country and is not safe. It has just been opened 
by Old Bridger for the Govnt/ 

The country is barren here, little grass, all sage brush, and poison 
Alkali lakes dried up, where the white Saleratus is some inches 
thick on the ground, and it is hard times with the Pony for food. 

July 22 Camped at noon at Sulphur Springs, when three Arap- 
ahoe Indians came up, on mules, and "how howed" and wanted to 
shake hands. A mile in rear of me was a large Union Train 
camped, with the Stars and Stripes flying. When I saw the Indians 
coming and they had arms I tied my pony to a Telegraph Pole, 
and gathered my pack together and had my Revolver cocked in 
hand, and would not shake hands till I knew who they were. It 
was the Cheyennes and Sioux who had given us so much trouble 
and we hated them. I asked them if they were Sioux, he shook his 
head and said "Arapahoe, Arapahoe" and showed me a written 
pass from some unknown French trader. These passes are very 
common and deceitful and of no value. This one was directed 
"To the Citizens on the Road" and for us to pass these Indians as 
they were friendly and acting as dispatch bearers. I was satisfied 
and thought friendly Indians were so scarce we should use them 
well. They tried to tell me of an Indian attack on a train ahead 
(which was true) and said pointing up the Road "Heap Utes come 
there" and made signs of being scalped and falling off his mule, 
and pointed east back of the Red Buttes and counted on his fingers 
"50 Arapahoes", that is he was going there for them to assist the 
whites. I knew they would be killed if they went past the Union 
train so I went back with them, keeping them ahead and watching 
their motions, and told the train men, who came out in swarms 
armed, who these Indians were. That train had lost $6000 in 
stock and were in no mood for friendship and swore "Damn their 
red skins we don't want them about" and the Indians becoming 
alarmed, took my advice and left the Road going over the Hills 
back of the Red Buttes. 

Next day we found they had stolen the Mules they rode the night 
before at Sweetwater. Only for that train being near me they 
would have attacked me. As this train travelled all with horses 
and Mules and made fast time I decided to travel with them. 

There were some Scotch Canadians among them from the Coun- 
try of Bruce and they all used me well, and at our evening camp 
fires we had Yarns and I sang the old shanty Sailor Songs, the 
favorite being "Clear the track let the Bullgine Run" with extem- 
pore words to suit old Brigham Young & the Mormons and "the 
gal with the red dress on" who was with us and cooked bean soup 
and baked cakes for me. I had been living on dried beef bread & 
water only. We had jolly times and I was a general favorite, and 
every one said from the push and go ahead I had shown I would 
make a fortune in the Mines. I was the only Packer on the Road. 
This Train was for Salt Lake City, and had many Mormons in it. 


July 23rd Made the Sweetwater River and camped at Inde- 
pendence Rock, a bald Granite Rock 600 feet long & 400 feet high 
covered with signatures of former Pilgrims and celebrated in Fre- 
mont's Travels. The Rocky Mountains commence here or Sweet- 
water Branch of them on our right all the way up that stream, 
bare naked rocky Granite Ranges. We hear at the Telegraph 
Station here that the Deer Creek expedition of the Soldiers to 
Powder River Indian Village to rescue Mrs. Keliy, had been routed 
and returned. We passed Devils Gate a curious cleft in the Rock 
separating Independence Rock from the Range, the Sweetwater 
River running through the Cleft. 

We make 25 miles a day along up this Stream. The Road and 
River are full of dead bloated Oxen killed by heat and Alkali water, 
and making the River water unfit to drink. The grass is good and 
pony doing well. Hot days and cold nights from our elevation go- 
ing up the gradual slope of the Rocky Mountains where we could 
see snow on their tops. 

July 26th We see Mounted Indians all around and their smoke 
signals from the Hills, and we corraled our train for defense, and 
guards with the mules. Mule trains are more liable to attacks than 
Oxen, for the sake of the Stock. This party of Indians we found 
afterwards had struck the Old Fort Snider 18 in the Bear River 
Range. They numbered 60 Sioux and were following down the 
Emigrant Road and had attacked a Train on Sandy Creek ahead 
of us and killed six men. 

They were now all around us on the Hills. 

To avoid them we started before daylight and took the Bye Road 
to our left over high Granite Hills and made 32 miles that day and 
was clear of the Indians. On our right was the snow peaked rocky 
Wind River Mountains in sight, with Fremont's Peak in the centre. 
Five miles further On July 28th camped at Fort Halleck at the 
South Pass, 19 the water shed of the Rockies dividing the waters 
flowing into the Atlantic from those flowing into the Pacific. The 
ascent had been very gradual for some hundred miles or more. We 
were now on a high table land, over and on which were the Wind 
River Mts. to the north, and the Bear River Mts. ahead. The Road 
branched here to the left to Fort Bridger and Salt Lake avoiding the 
Bear River Mts. The shortest Road for Montana or East Idaho 
as it was called was the Lander Cut Off straight ahead over the 
Bear River Mountains. 20 South Pass is 900 miles from St. Joe, 
and 700 miles of it Plains. 

18. See footnote 21 for comment about Fort Snider (Snyder). 

19. Fort Halleck (1862-1866) was at the north base of Elk Mountain on 
Ben Holladay's Overland Trail. There was a small garrison of 11th Ohio 
Cavalry in South Pass in 1864 at what Lt. Caspar Collins called South Pass 

20. From South Pass, Fcrman followed the Lander Road or Cutoff into 


At South Pass I laid in some dried Beef & coffee & tea and left 
the Mormon train and pushed on alone on the Lander Cut Off. 
My hard travelling had told on me and at Noon I had the Mountain 
Fever all alone but I travelled on alone to catch a Train, and not 
fit to walk and camped with a Small train at a creek. A widow 
and grown daughter and little boy had an Outfit of a two yoke of 
oxen team on her way to Oregon. I saw many widows on the Road 
travelling this way and found them the only Good Samaritans on 
the Route. She made me some hot Ginger tea &c but I had chills 
and fever all night. Next day she sent me some toast but I was too 
sick to eat or travel and hired my board at $4 a week to travel with 
her, and her boy rode my Pony and I rode in her wagon all day, 
and in a day or two I was all right. She needed my help in driving 
and the benefit was mutual. I intended to have staid there all that 
day but she proposed me going with her. 

July 30th Crossed the Little Sandy and five miles further 
camped on the Big Sandy. The Scenery here is very grand, the 
tops of the Mountains above the timber limit are covered with Pine, 
Tamarac & Balsam. The summits are bald, above the timber belt, 
and capped with Snow. 

The levels below the timber belt is stony with the rich bunch 
grass, and Sage Brush. This Bunch grass is more nutritious than 
valley grass, as it ripens its seeds and is cured as it stands, there 
being no rains to bleach it and cattle dig under the Snow and 
thrive on it all winter. 

The Hill sides are all on fire from the burning Sage Brush. 
There are Quartz Lodes and gravel and Gold indications all around 
us. The nights are cold with frosts, but the days are fine. We see 
tracks of Grizzly Bears every day. 

Passed a small creek where ten days ago the Indians (whom we 
had met on the Sweetwater and whom the Arapahoes had told me 
of) had attacked a party of Emigrants and killed some, whose fresh 
made graves were there. 

Aug. 1st We crossed Green River a Branch of the Colorado 

Idaho. Col. Frederick W. Lander described the route of the Lander Road, 
which he laid out in 1858, as follows: "Beginning at Gilbert's trading station, 
in the South Pass, it passes along the base of the Wind River Mountains, 
heading Little and Big Sandy Creeks; thence west, across the Green River 
basin, crossing the New Fork, Green River, and White Clay and Bitter-root 
creeks to the valley of Piney creek; thence up this valley through Thompson's 
Pass to the headwaters of Labarge creek; thence, via the head of Smith's fork 
of the Bear river to the valley of Salt river. The road continues down this 
fertile valley [Star Valley] about twenty-one miles to Smoking creek; thence 
up the valley of this creek to the head of Blackfoot creek, and the valley of 
John Gray's lake to Blackfoot creek, lower down; thence over to Ross Creek. 
Passing several miles down this creek the road crosses over to Snake river 
. . . near the mouth of Pannock river. . . ." House Executive Document 108, 
35 Cong., 2 sess. (1858-1859) (Serial 1008), p. 7. 


emptying into the Gulf of California thousands of miles through 
the Canyons of Arizona below us, here it is a beautiful cool gravel 
bottom Stream of the purest water, as all those Mountain Streams 
are. 1 sleep in the open air every night. 

Aug. 2nd I was now completely recovered and I left the Widow 
Erland and daughter and packed on alone, my Pony looking like a 
Dromedary with his pack on his back. 

Forded the rapid current of Green River twice by stripping my- 
self, waist deep, and camped on the second fork the same night all 
alone making 23 miles. And next day travelled all alone and 
camped with Train. Then on alone again and eleven miles up a 
Canyon in the Bear River Mountains [Wyoming Range] and 
camped with a train at their Base in the Pine Woods. That night 
the coffee in my Pot froze and I had a cold night. Passed a Log 
hut deserted called Old Fort Snider- 1 used in former days in cutting 
out this cut off and began the ascent three miles high through the 
Pine timber belt and upwards all day long, with Snow near me in 
patches The home of the Grizzly bears whose foot prints were 

At near evening found one team of emigrants camped in a Can- 
yon without grass or water and wanted to stay with them, but they 
did not want me I could see, and said a large train had just gone up 
the Mountain which I could easily catch which was a lie. I went 
about two miles up that mountain to above the timber limit, and it 
was dark and no train. We travelled on lively I walking behind 
and whipping up the Pony, dreading to meet Grizzlies, and in the 
dark, for five miles, until on the brow of the Mountain away down 
in the Pine Valley I could see a great fire. We commenced the 
descent, the road dust like ashes a foot deep, and so steep that the 
pony would brace his fore legs and slide down. About a mile 
down we went into a dense dark Pine belt of timber black and dark, 
and then down and around more descents, and then into dense wil- 
lows and across a deep creek and more willows until at 1 O'Clock 
at night we suddenly came out into the Clearing to a Large fire 
and a train of Emigrants camped there. My Pony whinnered with 
delight. I unpacked and joined them, and turned the Pony out 
into the willows where there was no grass whatever. He fared 
badly on Grease Wood, Sage brush and browse that night, and I 

21. The builders of the Lander Road under Col. F. W. Lander, chief 
engineer, in 1858 established a blockhouse and construction camp 7.7 miles 
up Piney Canyon and called it Fort Piney. On the Lander Road the '"fort" 
was 35.74 miles west of Green River. Apparently the "fort" soon became 
known as Fort Snyder, from one of the road builders. In his report of Jan- 
uary 20, 1859 Col. Lander stated: "Mr. James A. Snyder is also entitled to 
be mentioned for having remained in charge of the supply stations of the 
mountain work, often without a companion, in exposed situations. . . ." 
House Exec. Doc. 108, 35 Cong., 2 sess. (1858-1859) (Serial 1008), p. 50. 


couldn't find him till 10 O'Clock next morning long after the train 
had gone on out of sight. It had been a fearful night's travel. 

Aug. 5th Made 30 miles next day with no grass at noon, and 
over more Mountains and along a high ridge and down into a fine 
valley [Star Valley] stretching for miles to the West, and was over 
the Main Range of the Bear River Mts. and camped all day there 
with trains recuperating. I am now out of the Hostile Sioux coun- 
try altogether and in the country of the Bannocks a branch of the 
Shoshones or Snake Indians. 

Travelled 50 miles over this beautiful level valley crossing Salt 
River, and crossed the west chain of the Bear River Mts. [Caribou 
Range in Idaho] in rain and mud, and being quite sick again and 
could eat no supper. This West chain was low and woody and only 
30 miles across. I see fresh tracks of Grizzlies along the road and 
turning off. They are not aggressive if let alone, unless sud- 
denly surprised. I travel nearly every warm day barefooted. Alkali 
Plains where Saleratus can be gathered. 

Aug. 8th Crossed over other Hills to a fine valley with a large 
lake with wild white Swans sporting in it. 

And over more Hiils & fine valleys and struck the Blackfoot 
Creek and end of the Lander Cut Off, on the Fort Bridger & Salt 
Lake main Road to Virginia City, making 220 miles from the South 
Pass. I am now on a frequented Road with trains near me all day, 
200 miles from Salt Lake City, on the Fort Hall or Oregon Road, 
and within 215 miles of Virginia City. 

I had passed through in the last valley a village of friendly Ban- 
nack Indians, and another camp of them here. 

I am now in S. E. corner of Idaho Territory and turn to my right 
on Road to the North. We meet Packers from East Bannack and 
Virginia [City] who represent times as bad there and a stampede 
commencing back to the States. Meet empty teams going to Salt 
Lake for supplies. Provisions very dear, I pay $1 for a small loaf 
of bread from a train. 

Aug. 11th made the Snake River or Eagle Rock Ferry on Snake 
River, which flows into the Columbia River, and cross over. Ban- 
nack Indians plenty, a degraded lot who live on fish, camas roots, 
and roasted Grasshoppers or large black crickets. Over to right 
are the Three Tetons, Sharp Peaks of the Wind River Range, and 
on the left on the Snake River Desert are the Three Buttes, large 
mounds or isolated mountains. The Oregon trail has branched 
off to the left. All around are Mountain Ranges, The Main Rock- 
ies right ahead which I have to cross again. 

Aug. 12th I went up the River ten miles. On the left is the 
great Camas or Snake River Desert which I have to cross. Camp 
all day preparing to cross this Desert. Wash my clothes and swim 
in the River. I can get grub only from trains where there [are] 
women who are more tender hearted, but I pay $1 a loaf. Aug. 13, 
made 30 miles all alone with Pony over this Ashy Desert to a dry 


creek with a little water in it. No water or grass all day, and next 
day the same across the rest of the Desert 25 miles to a creek at the 
foot of the Rockies. 

Meet the Salt Lake & Virginia City stages every day. 

Aug. 15th Started to cross the Rockies again which are low 
here. The Pony feet are worn bad and he is about used up. His 
load weighs 125 lbs, with Axe, Pick & Shovel & my blankets, 
Clothes & Buffalo Robe. I am the only Packer on the Road from 
the States, but I now meet plenty of them for the States & Salt Lake 
& Denver. Next day got over the Range or water shed (having 
crossed the Rockies twice), but Mountains still in all directions. 
In fact the country from the Platte to the Pacific is all Mountains 
with valleys and Basins among them. At the junction of the East 
Bannack (the oldest mines) Road I take the right fork or Road to 
Virginia City, Montana, the latest and richest mines. 22 

Whenever I travel alone I feel so homesick and lonesome think- 
ing of my family and home in Canada, and am sick of so much 
hardships, nearly 3 months going 1350 miles. I could have taken 
a Ship at New York and have been in Australia 16,000 miles by 
sea in nearly the same time. I get very disheartened at the approach 
of the long winter and little money. The Mines are not like 
Australia nor the climate but are hard to work and require capital. 

Australia was the poor man's mining country, this one is for the 
Capitalist, and my prospects appear dark. 

The trains I had passed on the way did not get here for a month 
to six weeks after me. I had shown extraordinary energy long 
strained to get here in time, but a reaction has set in and I am dis- 
heartened and homesick for a time. 

Aug. 19th (1864) Arrived on the Ridge and away down in a 
deep Gulch a mile below I saw Nevada City and further up the 
Gulch Virginia City. I would have like to had my Pony and my 
likeness taken after our long tramp. We had travelled alone many 
a lonesome day and I was attached to him. I camped just on the 
edge of the city, in the Gulch, and sent my Pony out to a Ranch to 

We are here on the extreme Sources of the Missouri River, The 
Jefferson, Madison, & Gallatin Forks. 

East Bannack is on the Jefferson Fork to the West. 

Virginia City is in a Gulch of the Stinking Water [now called the 
Ruby] a branch of the Madison Fork. This Gulch is very deep and 

22. Important gold discoveries which brought the Montana gold rush 
were made at Grasshopper Creek (Bannack) in July 1862, Alder Gulch 
(Virginia City) in May 1863, and Last Chance Gulch (Helena) in July 1864. 
See "Montana Gold," by the Editors of Montana, the magazine of Western 
History, Vol. 14, No. 3 (July 1964), 20-25 and Robert Athearn, "The Civil 
War and Montana Gold," ibid., Vol. 12, No. 2 (April 1962), 62-73. 


only about half of the sky visible, and is about 1 5 miles long. The 
depth to the Granite Bed rock where the Pay dirt is found is, in the 
lower part of the Gulch, about 20 feet and increasing up the Gulch 
to 30-40 & 50 ft. The creek is diverted to each side in ditches and 
used for washing the gold dirt in long sluices. Before claims could 
be worked there had to be a bed rock drain or tunnel run up the 
whole length of the Gulch to drain off the water. A large timbered 
shaft was sunk and tunnels heavily timbered run from the Shaft. 
The men working in the tunnels wearing rubber or Gum suits on 
account of the dripping water. This is the only Rich Gulch and is 
too limited for the number here. It is estimated to yield a Va mil- 
lions of dollars a week. The population is 10,000 & of the Terri- 
tory 20,000. Board is $14 Gold or $28 Greenbacks a week. The 
currency is Gold dust weighed out. No coin, and Greenbacks 
taken at 50 cts on the $ in Gold dust. 

Bread is $1 a loaf, flour $30 a 100 lbs, Gold. 

The regular law authorities do not govern. Highwaymen and 
Robbers ruled them. The Sheriff had been hanged for Highway 
Robbery. 23 A vigilance committee of Citizens govern the place, 
and have hanged all the Horsethieves and Robbers, and it is the 
best government I ever saw. Property and life is secure from fear 
of it. I leave my things openly in the Gulch without cover and 
nothing is stolen. On Sundays and evenings Concert Saloons and 
dancing are in full blast. Two German Hurdy Gurdy Girls own 
the Crittenden Saloon & Dance House, the leading one of the place. 
Drinks are 50 cts a glass. The Dancing part is railed off, a String 
Band and prompter, and girls hired at $75 a month sitting around 
for partners. The charge is $2 for a Dance and partner, and after 
the dance you must treat your partner at the private Bar, costing 
another dollar. 

Around the main room are Gambling tables, Faro, &c and some 
have free Negro Minstrel Concerts. These are the places of resort 
every evening and on Sundays, and fortunes are made by the pro- 
prietors. The Place is full of them. 

The Mountains on each side of the Gulch are high & steep and 
covered with Pine. The Buildings are mostly log cabins with some 
stone Stores, and frame buildings & many tents. The Claims are 
large, 100 feet up & down the Gulch. It costs a small fortune to 
open and work them, and they are held at $3000 to $10,000 each 
according to their Richness. They are all taken up and in full 
working. The great bulk of the men work for wages at $6 a day 
without board for common laborers and $10 a day for Drifters at 
tunneling. The work is fearfully severe and wet, and they do their 
own cooking and washing. 

23. The notorious Henry Plummer. He and twenty-one others had been 
hanged by vigilantes in January 1864. 


It is estimated that it costs the full value of the Gold dust to get 
it. The system of mining and the mines are very different from 
Australia. I saw no chance for me but to work for wages. 

New mines are being searched for, and the country is full of 
prospectors. Many are going to the New Kootenay Mines in 
British Columbia, 500 North West, and there are Rumors of new 
strikes on the Prickly Pear stream near the junction of the Jeffer- 
son, Madison, & Gallatin, called the Three Forks of the Missouri. 
(This Prickly Pear was actually opened that winter and found to 
be the richest mines in the country, where Helena now is ) . I have 
$100 in Greenbacks equal to $50 Gold, and my Pony left. I talked 
with one claim owner who has expended $1000 in opening a claim 
and hasn't made a cent yet. It is so with many. The Business men 
are doing the best in Stores & Boarding houses. I could do well at 
that if Ellen was here with me. 

I had changed my quarters to a camp where I slept in a tent with 
a large party I had travelled with on the Plains, named Irvings from 
Painted Post near Corning & Elmira N.Y. (I visited them there 
long after our return, in 1880, on one of my trips to Horseheads 
and Elmira, looking after my property there). 

We had private news of New Mines near Prickly Pear or on the 
Gallatin and one of them and I with my Pony were to go and pros- 
pect. They furnished the Grub & I the Pony. These Irvings had a 
large train of Provisions and had brought men to work on shares in 
the mines and were discouraged with seeing no openings for them. 
If we found new mines they were to come on with the men and 
provisions. I got a letter from Ellen and write her a homesick letter 
and send her my Diary leaves. I had had an offer of $4 a day in 
Denver and was deciding to go there where the climate was mild 
and nearer the States (1100 miles nearer than here) and to send 
for my family and thought I would try this trip to the Gallatin First. 
I have cramps from sleeping out on the cold ground and can't stand 
this life much longer. We are shut out from the world a lonely city 
of the Wilderness. We talk of the East as "The States or Gods 

Aug. 24 (1864) Old Sam Irving, the Boss' brother, and I and 
the Pony, they furnishing the Provisions, Start for the new mines 
and cross over the High Range to the Madison Fork and down that 
Stream, meet Emigrants coming in by the Bozeman & Bridger 
Routes from the States, who left the Red Buttes on the Platte 10 
days before me, they had to fight their way through the Indians. 

We went down the Madison Fork 12 miles and crossed East 
over a high range with Snow in sight to the Gallatin Fork. Plenty 
of Antelope, Elk, and Beaver. The Gallatin valley is 15 miles wide 
and very fertile with Streams of the purest water. Quite a number 
of settlers were there farming and more coming in. No timber 
except a belt along the River. 

So far we did not know where we were going but expected to 


ascertain here the whereabouts of the new mines. We found they 
were further East at Emigrant Gulch on the Yellowstone River 
where some incoming Emigrants had discovered gold. 

12 miles further on at the edge of the valley we came to Boze- 
man's Ranch (now in 1883 Bozeman city a large town) consisting 
of one building where that celebrated Mountaineer and his two 
wives lives. Paid $1.20 for 3 quarts of Milk. 

There are high Ranges of Mountains between every River. To 
save distance we left the wagon Road and struck to the right on an 
Indian trail inaccessible for wagons and went through Grizzly 
Canyon. At its entrance the cliffs were 600 feet high and perpen- 
dicular, on each side. 

Along all these valleys were great quantities of Black Cherries 
as delicious and large as our tame ones in Canada and the only 
fruit I had had since leaving the Missouri. We never tired feasting 
on them and on Service berries and huckleberries. They abounded 
particularly in this Canyon, and the Bears were in great numbers, 
their tracks and dung were everywhere where they lived on the 
cherries. The Stream was full of Beaver Dams and Beaver, and the 
Skulls of Buffalo and the Rocky Mountain sheep or Goats were 
thick over the Ground. The Mountain Goats have immense horns, 
and can fall over high precipices alighting on their heads without 
injuring them. 24 Away to the South across the heads of those 
Rivers were the Wind River Mts. and Fremont's Peak glistening 
with snow. I had been as far on the other side of it on Green River 
on my way up from the South Pass. In other directions were the 
Big Horn Mts. The Yellowstone Mts. The Rose Bud and other 

The wilderness of scenery and Pine clad Mt. Slopes in Grizzly 
Canyon exceeded everything 1 had ever seen. The steep slopes on 
each side were a mile high and Avalanches or Land Slides were fre- 
quent in the spring. The soil resting on a greasy rock, and acres 
of it coming down and levelling trees in their way into the creek 
after the snow melts. Their great broad tracks were very frequent 
and some of them quite recent. This canyon is the favorite home 
of the Cinnamon Bear, Black Bear, and the Great Grizzly Bear. 

Just before Sunset we saw a great Grizzly Bear, with grey sides 
(hence his name) as large as an Ox, about 50 feet from us over the 
Creek, sitting on his haunches watching us. T whipped the pony on 
along the narrow trail. Old Irving had a three shooter rifle and 
often fired at Antelope but he couldn't hit the side of a Barn. He 

24. This tall tale was common in the West. Bill Nye in Bill Nye's 
Remarks had this to say about it: "The general impression that the back- 
bone of a mountain sheep is made of vulcanized rubber and spiral springs 
is incorrect . . . whenever you find a place where a flock of sheep have 
jumped down a precipice 150 feet deep, you can go and gather up more 
giblets of wild mutton than you will use all summer." 


wanted to fire at the Grizzly but I wouldn't let him. It is almost 
impossible to kill them with balls, and it would only exasperate him 
and make him attack us and he would kill three or four men, even 
if armed. 1 knew if we let him alone he would not molest us from 
my reading of them. He seemed very curious about us and once 
started to cross over to us, but something else diverted him and he 
lounged off. 

The Pony smelt danger and we made fast time in walking, but as 
long as we could see him till dark we could see that old Grizzly 
sitting and looking after us. We were new beings to him. We went 
only two miles further and camped at a small creek and with some 
dead trees kept up a large fire all night. Bears will not go close to 
a fire, but will prowl around hunting for scraps of food to eat. Old 
Irving had a wife in Detroit and we talked that night of our wives, 
and if they only knew our situation that night they would not sleep 
much &c. Next morning we saw another Grizzly high up the side 
of the Mountain, and saw a black California Lion (like a Panther) 
sneak into the Bushes and we got his smell like the smell of a 

It is about 40 miles through this Canyon with a divide in the 
middle but we save 20 miles by taking it. 

Near night we got out of the Canyon and lost the trail but found 
the Yellowstone River and didn't know where to go, up or down, or 
where Emigrant Gulch was, but we thought we could see an Indian 
Village up the River (we were mistaken) and followed up the River 
bank for two (2) miles to find a ford to cross. We came to a rapid 
bar and undressed and put everything on the Pony, and with a pole 
to steady us we started over. The current almost swept us away, 
but it took the Pony's side and took him into deep water where he 
swam ashore with our clothes and blankets & flour all wet. We 
built a rousing fire and did the best we could. After baking our 
supper it rained all night and wet us more yet. We did not know 
where we were and expected an attack from the Indians (Crow 

In the morning we have cold winds and light frost, but made a 
good fire from driftwood and dried our things and went up on the 
Bluff to find our whereabouts. Away off towards the Mountains 
we saw a train of Emigrants going up South, along the base of the 
Mts. and we made for them and found the Road, and at Noon came 
on Emigrant Gulch, a wild deep canyon on the East side and 
emptying into the Yellowstone, 150 miles from Virginia City. A 
party of 9 men had a week before built boats and floated down the 
River for the Missouri and the States but it is doubtful if they ever 
reached there alive, on account of the Hostile Indians they have to 
pass through for 1500 miles. 

Emigrant Gulch was discovered by Emigrants and there were 
100 wagons camped there, many for all winter, and were curing 
fish of which there was plenty for winter supplies. 


Several Sluices were at work but the Bed rock had not been 
reached and only flour gold in very small quantities had been 
found, that is only a color to the pan. They had been working for 
months and the bed rock appeared to be very deep and expensive 
to work. We prospected up the Gulch a few days and in the richest 
dirt could only get a color of gold to the pan. 

The Rock Indications were not good and I considered it a fail- 
ure, which turned out true afterwards. The main hope of the New 
Mines in the Territory all rested on the Yellowstone and it was a 
failure. The true Mines were at the Prickly Pear and that winter 
another party of Emigrants camped there, (beyond and west of the 
three forks of the Missouri and north from Virginia City, and 100 
miles west of the Yellowstone) and found the richest mines ever 
known, exceeding Virginia City, and the city of Helena was built 
there that winter & following spring and became the capital of the 
Territory, but we could not know that then in August. 

Aug. 31st (1864) after another rainy night we start back for 
Virginia City through Grizzly Canyon again. This is in the Crow 
Indian country, who are hostile. In the Canyon it rains every night 
nearly. Our provisions are nearly out and the Pony's load lighter. 
Travelled that day in a thunder storm & Rain, and in the canyon 
saw a Black Bear and another California Lion, and camped in the 
old spot where we saw the Grizzly. It rained all the time we were 
returning through the Canyon and our blankets & clothes were not 
dry for three days. We got some Antelope Venison after our flour 
gave out, and lived on that till we got to Virginia City on the 4th 

(1864). The Pony's back had become swelled & I had hired 
carriage for our pack with a passing Emigrant. I sent him to the 
Ranch again to pasture. 10 miles below us on the Gallatin were 
800 Crow Indians in Camp threatening trouble to the whites on 
account of some miners killing two of their tribe. 

I have said nothing of the Prairie Wolves or Coyotes, which 
infest the whole Mountain Country from the Platte upward and 
whose dismal howling at nights is known to every Emigrant Camp. 
Also the large Grey Wolf of the Mts., but there are so many other 
more dangerous animals that these Coyotes are considered of no 
account and beneath notice. 

Sept. 4th (1864) On our return to Virginia City, we camped 
with their teams to the States. 1500 had left that week, and there 
was a regular Stampede. Fully one half the people are preparing 
to go. Many parties are going to Fort Benton 280 miles from here 
on the Missouri to go by the River in Rat Boats. I join a party to 
go that way, and we consult the Agent of the American Fur Com- 
pany then on a visit to the City, and he condemned the thing as 
extremely dangerous as the Indians were hostile all the way for 
about 1000 miles, and said the Govnt. troops would prevent us 
going. Many did go however and most of them got through safely. 


(Thos. Merrell now of Stratford (1883) was one of a party who 
went that fall down the river) . The reason was that the mines were 
not workable in the winter to a great extent, and the want of work 
and Provisions, made the prospects look exceedingly gloomy. A 
large number of the new arrivals were now out of provisions and 
means, and did not know what to go at. Many of their daughters 
(of respectable emigrant families) were compelled to hire as dance 
girls at the Concert Saloons at $75 a month. 

1 prospected the hills and pine groves to build a cabin there and 
cut cordwood all winter. But my main plan was to return to 
Denver, Colorado, 1100 miles and work there and send for Ellen 
& the children and settle there. There were very many mule trains 
going but the passage fare had raised from $30 to $50 and I could 
not afford that and then thought of walking and packing most of 
the way. 

Destitution was staring many of the newly arrived emigrants in 
the face. (In Boise Basin that winter 1 saw in the papers there 
were Bread riots in Virginia City that winter) . I have reasoned the 
matter out that there is no chance for me here. Even if we found 
new mines it costs $1000 to prospect a claim and if found good it 
costs another thousand to open it for working, by reason of the 
depth and the water requiring bed rock drains and heavy timbering 
of the drifts or tunnels. It is so in all these mines all over the 
Rocky Mts, so entirely different from Australia. From my high 
hopes at starting and on the way this disappointment and reaction 
is terrible to me and I hate to leave and give it up after all my 
sufferings & risk of life to get here. If I had had Ellen with me we 
could have done well. Women get $50 a month, and we could 
have gone into business of Boarding and Store &c and in time 
made a fortune. 

Sept. 8th I brought in the Pony from the Ranch and sold him at 
Auction for $35 Gold. His feet were worn and fore legs sprung. 
The trip here had used him up. The Auction Marts are one of the 
institutions of the place. All day Sunday the streets are alive with 
men and Horses and stock being sold by outside loud mouthed 
Auctioneers every fifty yards, and the noise and crush is wonderful. 
Mexicans & Indians with their mustangs, and Matadors for the Bull 
fights one of which was largely advertised. 

Sept. 11 (1864) In the night it snowed, and we have had frost 
every night for some time. In the morning the whole face of the 
country is white with Snow, and it looks gloomy in the extreme. It 
coming so early, and the knowledge that it will stay till next summer 
(except in the bottoms of the Gulchs and Basins), and the wild 
white wintry look of the High Mountains in every direction creates 
a perfect panic among the new Emigrants to get back to "God's 
Country" the States. They will have snow for 1100 miles before 
they get out of the Mountains. The way of living, Sleeping in the 
open air and eating anything and any way, and the dust and wind, 


is one main cause of my despondency, but 1 am now living in a tent, 
and getting more used to the place and my spirits rising some. The 
news of the Indian Outbreak on the Platte and of Denver being 
threatened and the lateness of the Season and the snow, have 
decided me to stay and do the best I can, and I refuse some chances 
to drive mule trains back for my passage and board. 

I go out with a mate to prospect a Shallow Gulch I had noticed in 
coming here, but find nothing there. 

The Irving Company have started back for the States. 

Sept. 15th I went 5 miles up the Gulch from Virginia City, to 
Highland City to work for two Englishmen Dyke & Upton as a top 
hand at $5 a day and board myself, working nights and day alter- 
nately hoisting & sluicing pay dirt. I live in their Log Hut and do 
my own cooking. 

A large expedition of 12 Boats is to leave on 1st Oct. on the 
Yellowstone & Missouri for the States and I engage to go and help 
build the Boats at $4 a day & maybe go with them. 

Sunday, Sept. 18th A man hanged in Nevada City by the 
Vigilance Committee for Stealing, and a prize fight of Con. Orem 
and another to day. 

Sept. 19th I am sent down the Shaft of the mine to run the car 
and help the Drifters. The Shaft is 35 feet deep to the Bed Rock 
and heavily timbered tunnels are run from it in all directions. The 
water drips through everywhere from the gravel overhead and is 
carried off in the underground or Bed rock drain which is hard 
burnt volcanic granite. We wear gum suits and yet get wet 
through. It is very heavy and dangerous work from the mass of 
wet gravel overhead being likely, as it often does, to cave in our 
timbers. Our tunnel is fifty feet in length, and the whole of the 
ground is being blocked and taken out all around. It is only paying 
the owner expenses. 

Sept. 22. Left work to start for Denver and when about to pay 
passage I met an Ox team starting for West Bannack 565 west over 
the Rockies in Idaho proper, just back of Oregon. I got talking 
with the owner and he showed me a letter from the Mines there, 
that the mines are shallow and easier worked and wages $6 a day 
& the climate milder. I couldn't feel like going home with nothing, 
and so decided to go to West Bannack and give that a trial till next 
season, and I wanted to get out of this dismal place where every 
thing was snow so early. I had worked 6 days & had $30 and paid 
that for passage and had $50 of my old money left. 

Sept. 25th Started for West Bannack. ... On the high Ridge I 
turned and took a last look at Virginia City and cursed the place 
and the day I had seen it, all my hopes there being blasted. 

[The part of George Forman's narrative which deals with his ex- 
periences in Idaho has already been edited by Dr. William E. Davis 


and published under the heading "The Great Pedestrian" in Idaho 
Yesterdays, Vol. X, No. 1 (Spring 1966), pp. 2-11. Forman's 
strenuous efforts in the Idaho mines were little more successful than 
they had been in Montana. He managed to send his wife $40 and 
to save $200, "enough to take me home." He left Idaho City 
August 7, 1865, and passed through Boise and Salt Lake City, on 
foot but accompanying a horse-drawn wagon. In September he 
went with a small wagon train along the Overland Trail (Fort 
Bridger, Bridger Pass, Fort Halleck, Laramie Plains, Virginia Dale, 
Fort Collins, and the South Platte). For $10 he was able to ride 
with a mule team the next 525 miles to Omaha, "a relief but dull." 
On the eastward journey Forman encountered no hostile Indian, 
although he heard many stories about depredation and saw evi- 
dences thereof on the Laramie Plains and along the South Platte. 
From Omaha he traveled by steamer and train to his home in 
Ontario, where he arrived in November 1865.] 


Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Peggy Dickey Kircus 
earned both her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Arts degrees 
at Texas Christian University, the latter in May, 1967. Her major 
was history. She is married to Air Force Chaplain Ernest E. Kir- 
cus and is the mother of two children. The Kircuses were stationed 
at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base for eighteen months in 1962 
and 1963. More recently they have spent two years in Turkey and 
are now residing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. 

Robert L. Munkres has been an assistant professor of political 
science at Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, since 1960. 
Prior to that time he instructed in the University of Wisconsin Ex- 
tension Division. He served as seasonal ranger-historian at Fort 
Laramie National Historic Site in 1956, 1957 and 1958. He did 
his undergraduate work at Nebraska Wesleyan University and 
earned his M.A. and Ph. D. degrees at the University of Nebraska. 
He is affiliated with numerous professional and historical asso- 

T. A. Larson, associated with the University of Wyoming since 
1936, is Professor of History, Head of the Department of History 
and Director of the School of American Studies. His published 
writings include Wyoming's War Years (1954), History of Wyo- 
ming (1965) and Bill Nye's Western Humor (1968), as well as 
many articles in professional journals. A native of Nebraska, Dr. 
Larson attended schools in that state, and also attended the Uni- 
versity of Colorado, the University of Chicago, the University of 
Illinois, where he received his Ph. D., and he took post-doctoral 
work at the University of London, England. A member of numer- 
ous honorary and professional organizations, he has also served as 
a member of the Council of the Pacific Coast Branch of the Amer- 
ican Historical Association, a member of the executive committee, 
Mississippi Valley Historical Association and is a past president of 
the Wyoming State Historical Society. Dr. Larson and his wife 
and daughter make their home in Laramie. 

Ifaok Keviews 

Bostonians and Bullion: The Journal of Robert Livermore, 1892- 
1915. Edited by Gene M. Gressley. (Lincoln: University 
of Nebraska Press, 1968) Illus. 193 pp. $6.95. 

Fortunately Bostonian Robert Livermore had both an adventur- 
ous spirit and a reflective mind. Like many a youth of his time, he 
gave vent to his passion for new experience by heading into the 
sunset. Yearnings to see what was on the other side of things led 
him into the Rocky Mountains and finally into the wilds of Canada 
in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when, as he put 
it, "though the palmy days were over, plenty of the flavor re- 
mained." Unlike many others, he recorded his adventures with a 
keen eye, a careful ear, and a sense of history. Specifically, his 
reminiscence (based on a diary) covers the years 1892-1915 and 
deals principally with the years spent as a cowboy in Montana and 
a mining engineer in Colorado and Ontario. Editor Gene M. 
Gressley, Director of the Western History Research Center at the 
University of Wyoming, provides an enlightening introduction and 
epilogue that place the journal in perspective and fill in the bio- 
graphical gaps. 

The document has special value beyond the perceptivity and 
perspicacity of its author. In it we learn much about the duties and 
difficulties of the mining engineer, one of the most intriguing and 
neglected figures in western history. Most importantly he gave 
advice on productivity and feasibility on the strength of which 
capitalists invested or disappeared. He was the pivot in a game of 
roulette that made some bountifully rich and others embarrassingly 
poor, and like many gamblers for the house, he took his turn at the 
table on his days off. 

After graduating from Harvard and M.I.T., Livermore began 
his professional career in June, 1903, as an assistant engineer for 
the Camp Bird mine near Ouray, Colorado. A year later he 
obtained a lease on the Smuggler-Union at Telluride, and the mine 
remained his main business interest until 1910. At a time when 
the Western Federation of Miners agitated for an eight hour day 
and other reforms and violence was often the means to an end, 
Livermore stood on the side of the company and at one time joined 
a group of "Rough Riders" organized by mine operators to protect 
themselves. Always an insatiable traveler, Livermore saw a lot of 
the Western United States during these years as an avid hunter of 
big game and as a seeker of productive mines for himself and oth- 
ers. In 1912 he relocated in Cobalt, Ontaria, where he helped to 
develop what was to become a bonanza in later years. 

Several things struck Livermore about the American West at the 


end of the horse-drawn era. He loved its beauty and found much 
of its wilderness unspoiled. Although he was often amused by the 
provinciality of its inhabitants — a Saw Pit storekeeper reluctantly 
sold him a can of anchovy paste with the comment, "I warn ye 
they won't stick nothin. I've tried em" — he admired the courage 
and resourcefulness of frontiersmen and soon became one of them. 
The value of the work is enhanced by knowledgeable editing. 
Documentation is thorough but not tedious. Maps are plentiful 
and add greatly to the clarity of the account. The combination of 
readability and scholarship make this a very attractive volume. In 
beginning his autobiography, Livermore wrote: "I have had a lot 
of fun out of life." Those who read Bostonians and Bullion will 
share his enjoyment. 

National Park Service John Dishon McDermott 

Washington, D. C. 

The Splendid Pauper, The Story of Moreton Frewen. By Allen 
Andrews. (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1968) Index. 
Illus. 254 pp. $4.95. 

Most biographers chose as their subjects persons of significant 
influence — statesmen, soldiers, artists. In this finely drawn vol- 
ume, however, Alan Andrews has chronicled the life of one of the 
most estimable losers of the 19th century. Moreton Frewen was 
by almost every standard a failure, but he failed so magnificently 
and with such impeccably good taste that this story of his check- 
ered career becomes a minor classic in the literature of gracious 
defeat. Frewen lost at everything from cattle raising to gold min- 
ing but, as a testament to his nerve and personality, it was almost 
invariably other peoples' money he lost. 

He had, actually, very little of his own to lose. As the third and 
hence dispossessed son of English nobility, Frewen's own inher- 
itance was relatively meager. Rather than invest this sum safely, 
he decided to risk it all on one horse race. Should he lose he would 
begin a new life in the wilds of the American West. The horse he 
backed — a nag named Hampton — finished second and so Frewen, 
not altogether unhappy at the result, went with his brother Richard 
to Wyoming to raise cattle. He imbued the venture with his own 
special flavor. His home became known as Frewen's Castle and 
from contemporary reports it deserved the title. Located on the 
Powder River on the east side of the Big Horns, the Castle served 
as a hunting lodge for visiting dignitaries in addition to its more 
practical function as headquarters for the sprawling Frewen 
Brother's ranch. It was richly furnished and, after the first year, 
decorated as well by the presence of Clara Jerome, the pauper-to- 
be's splendid wife and daughter of William Jerome of New York. 


While in Wyoming Frewen distinguished himself for his hardi- 
ness—once walking 40 miles through knee-high snow drifts, and 
for his business sense — recognizing that the ranges of eastern Wyo- 
ming were being overstocked. His attempt to "relocate part of his 
own herd in Alberta failed, and with that failure the entire opera- 
tion collapsed. This was the first of his series of defeats. He left 
the Powder River in 1885 and began the mismanaged career that 
was to take him through four continents and millions of pounds 

His losses were not owing to his being misplaced socially or 
financially. His sister-in-law was the wife of Lord Churchill and 
the mother of Sir Winston. Among his many friends he counted 
some of the most influential men in English politics including Lord 
Gray. Nor were these losses due to any obtuseness on his part. 
He was, in fact, uncommonly prophetic, anticipating among other 
developments the Panama Canal and the St. Lawrence seaway. 
Rather he found himself in the frustrating position of having his 
best ideas when he had the least money. Liquidating one venture 
in order to finance another left him little working capital and this, 
together with a phenomenal run of bad luck, consigned him to a 
life of chasing his own tail in commercial affairs. 

But this was not all. Frewen's connections were with the Eng- 
lish gentry, by that time an outdated and obsolete class. He was 
himself indelibly of that class and the history of his own splendid 
failures becomes then a kind of social commentary as well. Incur- 
ably romantic, arrogant and vain, the English gentry had outlived 
its usefulness in a world which worshipped material values to the 
exclusion of almost all others. This meant a rejection of honor, 
however fuzzily the English may have defined it, and Frewen was 
an honorable man. His fall, then, becomes the fall of a class, his 
failures, a microcasm of a general social disintegration. Andrews 
states it well: "Moreton's old friends and hunting companions and 
bedmates and rival lechers — the small, mighty extinct Society that 
had governed while it played — were dropping out one by one." 
(p. 243) None, however, dropped so hard or so often as the 
Splendid Pauper. And few were so totally incapable of explaining 
their fall. 

This is a grand and exciting book. It offers a revealing glimpse 
into the life of a remarkable man and of the class he represented. 
Readers of this journal will enjoy its passages about Wyoming and 
the early days of cattle ranching in the Powder River country. 
Readers everywhere will enjoy its style and wit. At $4.95 it is an 
extraordinary bargain. 

University of Montana David M. Emmons 


Wyoming. A Political History, 1868-1896. By Lewis L. Gould. 
(New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1968) 
Index. Illus. 298 pp. $10. 

This is a frustrating book to review. Professor Gould has pro- 
vided so much fare for both serious and casual students of Wyo- 
ming politics that it is hard to decide what to report. From the long 
overdue tribute to Marie Erwin's Blue Book, to its splendid Biblio- 
graphical Essay, it is fascinating and rewarding reading. Regret- 
fully, the study ends with the election of 1896. 

The doctoral dissertation published by Yale University Press has 
several theses, the most central being that Wyoming politics were 
chaotic and uncertain until the Republicans were finally ordered 
and organized by Francis E. Warren, with the help of his wonder- 
fully talented lieutenant, Judge Willis Van Devanter. The image of 
Warren that his portraits and folklore have created will suffer 
serious erosion for many, when they read this formidably docu- 
mented account of his management of his and Wyoming's affairs. 
The role of Van Devanter will probably provide the most surprises. 
Certainly much of "the cloudy mysteriousness," which the author 
rightly says shrouded Wyoming politics from the inception of the 
territory through the 1890's, has been cleared. 

Gould's thesis that the "emergence of a single politician as the 
pre-eminent leader in the State" provided the first element of 
political stability in Wyoming, seems faultless. Characteristically, 
the Democrats' inability to agree upon a senatorial nominee in 
1893, and President Cleveland's rejection of the free silver move- 
ment earlier, provided the environment for Warren and Van De- 
vanter to discredit the Democratic party and to mobilize Repub- 
licans around a Warren orthodoxy which perservered. 

Since his analytical narrative acknowledgedly focuses on War- 
ren, the author may be forgiven what some will feel is neglect of 
others large in Wyoming politics, viz. Frank W. Mondell. Joseph 
M. Carey comes off a mysterious sort of figure whom Warren 
characterized as "the most monumental hypocrite and the most 
infernal liar — when 'necessary' — that God ever permitted to live 
whom I have been permitted to meet." An elusive scholarly re- 
sentment that Carey did not leave personal records like Warren's 
shows through Gould's book and might have influenced his han- 
dling of the author of The Carey Act, which he says was "far from 
a success." 

Proponents of the Wyoming Rugged Individualist school will get 
small comfort from Professor Gould's documentation of the endless 
dedication of Wyoming officers to the national "pork barrel" as 
essential to the state's survival; or Republicans from his portrayal 
of their party's espousal of "national authority." Most wonderful 
of ironies is the disclosure that until 1892, "Populism in Wyoming 
was confined to the northeastern counties of Crook and Weston." 


That Warren was not disturbed by this curiosity attests to the 
validity of his doctrine that "Voters always love the successful one 
and the successful party, hence they would follow the band wagon," 
and could be safely expected to return to the fold. 

While explaining adequately the aftermath of the Johnson Coun- 
ty War, he is less convincing of the non-involvement of Senator 
Warren. Happily, he devotes only a few paragraphs to the 
invasion part. 

Professor Gould clearly considers the political history of Wyo- 
ming less that of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the 
Union Pacific Railroad, and absentee capital, as routinely repre- 
sented, than that of organized levy upon the United States govern- 
ment. He is probably right. 

Northwest Community College, Powell John T. Hinckley 

Bill Nye's Western Humor. Edited bv T. A. Larson. (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1968) Illus. 183 pp. $4.75. 

My introduction to Bill Nye's writings occurred in one of Dr. 
Larson's lectures at the University of Wyoming. To illustrate a 
point, he read an excerpt from "Fine Cut as a Means of Grace." 
Laughter filled the room as the students thought of similiar exper- 
iences with tobacco. You may think there is nothing unusual in 
this, but the lecture was seen on closed circuit television, recorded 
the previous day, and in the year 1968. This memory symbolizes 
the difficulty of an editor trying to select material from the 1800's 
to appeal to an audience in 1968. Humor can become dated very 
fast. Does anyone recall Vaughn Meader's "First Family" satire 
on the Kennedy administration? Yet Dr. Larson has managed to 
select a fine representation of materials that will appeal to the 
modern reader. 

This is not to say that every article will make you roar with 
laughter. As for myself, I find little humor in Captain Jack's 
scattered remains or in the "welcoming" of a Chinese laundryman. 
But these essays will make you thoughtful as well as give you a 
glimpse into the thoughts of our fathers and grandfathers. This is 
much of the book's appeal and value which lifts it out of the 
category of an ordinary western book. The reader gets a bargain 
with entertainment and social history combined in one volume. 
The book presents an excellent picture of Laramie City, W.T., in 
the 1880's. 

The picture that emerges is a small town where people keep milk 
cows in the back yard to provide fresh milk and to annoy Bill Nye, 
gentleman gardener. The town smells of codfish (highly salted to 
prevent or mask spoilage.) The citizens entertain with picnics in 
the spring snow, by ribbing a tenderfoot with advice on how to salt 


claims, and attending traveling shows with live actors and moth- 
eaten wigs and beards. 

Laramie also has problems. Church mortgages, children's man- 
ners, Junior writing from college for more money and an occasional 
death from "opium." Nye's discovery that "opium" poisoning 
leaves a dark ring around the victim's neck is an excellent use of 
irony and serves to remind us that the problems of law, order, and 
justice are not just peculiar to our time. The minor classic, 
"Wyoming Farms, Etc., Etc., is also included. It is sure to remain 
as funny today as it was when it was first published in 1880. The 
opening paragraph should give pause, as it did then, when our 
optimism exceeds our realism: 

"It has snowed a good deal during the week, (June 10, 1880) 
and it is discouraging to the planters of cotton and tobacco very 
much. I am positive that a much smaller area of both these staples 
will be planted in Wyoming this year than ever before. Unless the 
yield this fall of moss agates and prickly pears should be unusually 
large, the agricultural export will be very far below preceding years, 
and there may be actual suffering." 

The essay, "Her Tired Hands," is also an excellent selection. It 
begins by poking fun at a "hayseed" and ends with an eloquent 
description of a man caught between the dream of rural life and 
the realities of industrial society. Those who believe our farm 
problems are a modern phenomenon will be surprised. 

The value of the book is further enhanced by an introduction 
combining a biography of Nye with an essay on Nye's place in 
American letters. Illustrations from Nye's book are also included 
and the reader will gain added flavor from them. A short bibliog- 
raphy is also included for those who would like to do further read- 
ing about the humorist from Laramie. If my feelings are any 
indication there should be many "Nye-o-philes" as a result of Dr. 
Larson's edition. A warning might be issued to the librarians to 
stockpile Nye materials. They will be used in the coming years. 

Laramie David L. Kindler 

Bartlett' s West: Drawing the Mexican Boundary. By Robert V. 
Hine. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 
1968) Index. Illus. 154 pp. $12.50. 

The annals of the West contain no more curious tale than the 
tragicomic trek of John Russell Bartlett, who went to work in 1850 
as U. S. Boundary Commissioner to run a couple thousand miles of 
southern boundary after the Mexican War. 

Bartlett, as ably drawn in this handsome book by a professor of 
history at the University of California, was the last man on earth 
you would expect to take on such a brutal task. "The commission- 
er," Dr. Hine tells us, "required the political sense of a Polk, the 


bravado of Fremont, and the frontier skills of Kit Carson." The 
appointment went instead to a frail and gentle aesthete from Prov- 
idence, Rhode Island, who had been devoting himself to the indoor 
sport of running a book store in New York. Bartlett was, the 
author writes, "a tall man with sloping shoulders and a long head. 
He had a thin nose and penetrating gray-green eyes; his hair was 
dark brown, and he wore it almost touching the upper reaches of a 
neatly clipped brownish-red beard . . . His hands and fingers ta- 
pered suggesting the sensitivity of an artist." 

The Commissioner's equipment for exploration, we learn, was 
composed importantly of "Seidlitz powders, toothbrush and tea 
along with his Book of Common Prayer," when he arrived at El 
Paso for his epic tour. From then on, for two and a half years, his 
life was a nightmare. He had trouble maintaining his authority as 
two or three other men claimed to be his coequals. His employees 
had a habit of getting drunk and shooting at each other. He had to 
fire one of his artists for "excessively immoral practices." The 
work was always behind schedule and Bartlett kept running out of 
the absurdly small sums of money Congress allowed him for his 

The Commissioner succumbed often to all kinds of desert aches, 
flames and chills, including typhoid fever. He hated the dusty 
Mexican villages and he was intolerant of Mexican peasants who 
seemed to him, from the austere vantage point of his Yankee 
heritage, lazy and do-less. But Dr. Hine gives us at least one 
pleasant episode. Bartlett seemed to enjoy rescuing a fifteen-year- 
old Mexican maiden named Inez Gonzales — "artless and interest- 
ing in appearance" — from a fate worse than death as the property 
of a band of Mexican traders. 

Bartlett, we find, was persuaded by Mexican officials to run the 
boundary west toward the Gila from a point some thirty-two miles 
north of El Paso. In effect, he gave up to Mexico the rich Mesilla 
Valley "in exchange," the author states, "for the mountainous min- 
eral areas farther west." This appears to have been a bad error of 
judgment, though it came out all right in the end because the terms 
of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 adjusted the U.S.-Mexico bound- 
ary southward. 

This book contains a splendid collection of forty-eight drawings 
illustrating scenes Bartlett saw during the survey. They include 
spectacular landscapes, quicksilver mines and pictures of village 
and camp life. Some of the best were drawn by Bartlett himself. 
The illustrations were gathered originally by Mitchell A. Wilder 
of the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art and by Thomas R. 
Adams of the John Carter Brown Library. The book itself was 
sponsored by the Amon Carter Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. 

Colorado Springs Marshall Sprague 


Sod Walls (The Story of the Nebraska Sod House). By Roger 
L. Welsch. (Broken Bow, Nebraska: Purcells, Inc., 1968) 
Illus. 208 pp. $8.50. 

Have you ever lived inside a sod house? Or did you ever visit 
one? Perhaps that was one of life's unfulfilled little dreams? Then 
this book is for you. 

Roger L. Welsch, self-styled "architectural folklorist," has some 
surprises here to pique your interest and excite your imagination. 
My own first thought on opening Sod Walls was this : Just what can 
Roger Welsch offer the reading public that has not been covered 
previously in such superb books as Everett Dick's Sod-House 
Frontier and James Olson's History of Nebraska. 

True, Welsch doesn't hesitate to borrow freely (with credit given) 
from these authorities in the field. But also he has painstakingly 
perused available histories of specific Nebraska counties and pored 
over diaries and journals of persons who "lived way back when." 
He has made good use of many well-selected reproductions of 
pictures from the camera of Solomon Devoe Butcher, frontier pho- 
tographer. (At least 1500 photographs from the Butcher collec- 
tion are presently housed inside eight big file drawers in the picture 
room of the Nebraska State Historical Society at Lincoln. What a 
gold mine! ) 

Welsch's individual contribution to the history of Nebraska sod 
homes centers on detailed explanations of how they actually were 
built — how the site was chosen; the sod was cut; the soddy was 
roofed: the walls and windows were planned and arranged; the 
house was ornamented, both inside and out; the home was made as 
livable as possible. These descriptions are illustrated with hasty, 
primitive sketches which succeed rather well in getting the author's 
message across to his readers. You may find yourself turning back 
more than once to review an interesting point too quickly skimmed 
over the first time. 

The folklore phase of sodbuster songs is definitely weak because 
of the paucity of materials, but that is understandable. Even such 
untiring seekers in this field as Louise Pound uncovered a dearth of 
folk songs worth recording. 

Let's not overlook a kudo or two due the publisher of Sod Walls. 
The ease with which the book can be opened to a specific page 
reminds one of the early geographies printed back in childhood 
days. Once opened, the book stays in place. Wide margins and 
large well-spaced type expedite even more pleasurable reading. 

This is an expensive book, but to a collector of worthy midwest- 
ern memorabilia the price may not seem at all exorbitant. 

Laramie Clarice Whittenburg 


Wilderness Kingdom. The Journals and Paintings of Father Nich- 
olas Point. Translated and Introduced by Joseph P. Donnel- 
ly, S. J. (New York, Chicago and San Francisco: Holt, Rine- 
hartand Winston, Inc., 1967) Illus. 274 pp. $17.95. 

The title of this book could well have been one definitive of the 
Northern Rockies Indian tribes which it depicts and describes in a 
fashion unique at this time rather than one which suggests a Kipling 
locale. Once past this anomaly the casual reader and scholar alike 
will find a work of great merit. The reader who is familiar with 
Catlin's renditions of Indians and Indian life will find the 232 
painting reproductions unbelievably vivid and detailed. 

From 1841 until 1847 Father Point lived and traveled among 
the Flatheads, the Blackfeet, the Coeurs D'Alenes and the Nez 
Perces, the Crow, the Spokane and the Assiniboines. His journals 
and the illustrations which accompanied them have been long 
stored away in the archives of College Sainte-Marie, Montreal. 

The text which accompanies the paintings provides many fresh 
insights into the hunting practices, the "medicine" of the tribes, and 
terrain through which they traveled. To better understand the 
missionary approach of that time as well as its results now, two 
other volumes should be read in conjunction with Wilderness King- 
dom: The Nez Perce and the Opening of the Northwest by Alvin 
Josephy, Jr., (Yale), and The Jesuits and the Indian Wars of the 
Far Northwest by Robert Burns, S.J. (Yale). 

The cost of this volume will make it prohibitive for many private 
bookshelves, but it is recommended for library study. 

Cheyenne Neal E. Miller 

Boom Town Boy. By Edwin Lewis Bennett and Agnes Wright 
Spring. (Chicago: Sage Books, 1966. Illus. 213 pp. $5.00) 

Make yourself comfortable in an easy chair and spend an eve- 
ning with the memories of a man of the west, Edwin Lewis Ben- 
nett, who arrived at Creede, Colorado, in 1 893 with his father and 
mother and older brother and grew to manhood in the rough mining 
town strung out in a canyon. 

Bennett, now retired from the Forest Service, was not afflicted 
by a fever for riches, almost epidemic in his day. He did not work 
hard or plan or plot to build an empire; he worked when the spirit 
moved him, or when he had to. Today he might be called a high 
school "drop-out," but he has nothing else in common with the 
anti-hero of modern fiction, for his life was joyous and rich and 
varied, and the recollections he has recorded are as fresh and alive 
as though they happened yesterday. 

His father, Ernest Bennett, had shunted his family from Mich- 
igan to Colorado in eight moves. After a stint in the mines, his 


itching foot bade him move on again, but Edwin's mother said 
"No;" she would stay in Creede with her small sons. Thus it was 
that the man she married later, a mule skinner named Bill McCall, 
was "Dad" to Ed and Don. 

A verse describing the town goes, "And it's day all day in the 
daytime/ And there is no night in Creede". Creede had the life the 
miners required, the bars, the honky-tonks, the ladies of the eve- 
ning. But when "Dad" McCall, who became sheriff, went out to 
quell a disturbance or bring a man in, he seldom carried a gun; 
such was a respect for the man and for the law and order he rep- 

When Edwin Bennett was a tiny tot, his older brother shoved 
him into the middle of a swimming hole and told him, "Swim or 
drown." He swam. He learned to ride like a cowboy. By the 
time he was out of knee breeches he could handle a team on pre- 
cipitous mountain roads; he lazed in pool halls, he spent a summer 
caring for the town's herd of cows, another period carrying the 
mail to the town of Bachelor. By the time he was a man he had 
worked in the mines, homesteaded a claim, held a job as brakeman 
on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, and during the depression 
of 1907, he hoboed around the west on boxcars. 

His fine eye and his sharp memory have produced in this book 
talented sketches of the men and women who endured the life of 
Creede, of the incidents which provided their gossip, all salted with 
a wry, western wit, for as Bennett explains : "Humor played a large 
part in our lives in those days. Conditions were rough, work was 
sometimes hard to find and hard when it was found. We had to be 
able to see a funny side to darn near everything. Even our justice 
was tempered with humor." 

The reader may well wonder how we have lost the common gift 
of laughter as a saving grace in our own difficult times. 

(Agnes Wright Spring, who helped the author organize his 
material, is a well-known writer and Colorado State Historian 
Emeritus. ) 

Cheyenne Margaret Peck 

The Pantarch. A Biography of Stephen Pearl Andrews. By Made- 
line B. Stern (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968) In- 
dex. IUus. 208 pp. $6.00. 

America's Political Dilemma. By Gottfried Dietz. (Baltimore: 
Johns Hopkins Press. 1968) Index. 298 pp. $7.95. 

Recent Bison Book reprints, Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press 
The Great Buffalo Hunt. Wayne Gard, $1.95. 
Old Wolfville. Chapters from the Fiction of Alfred Henry 
Lewis. Selected and with an Introduction and Commen- 
tary by Louise Filler. $2.50. 

general Judex 


Ackley, Richard Thomas, 40:2:205 

Across The Plains In 1864 With 
George Forman, ed. by T. A. Lar- 
son, 40:1:5-21; conclusion, 40:2: 

Alden, C. A., Post Surgeon. 40:2: 
165, 166, 167, 170. 171, 191. 

Alger, Horace, 40:1:77. 78. 

Allyn, Henry, 40:2:215, 217. 

American West, The: A Reorienta- 
tion, ed. by Gene M. Gressley, 
review, 40:1: 139. 

America's Political Dilemma, by 
Gottfried Dietz, review, 40:2:292. 

Anderson, Col. A. A., 40:1:73. 

Anderson, William, 40:1:25, 26, 30. 

Andrews, Allen, The Splendid Pau- 
per, review, 40:2:284-285. 

Anthony's Stamp Mill, 40:2:237. 

Arapahoe Indians, 40:2:268. 

Arbogast, John, 40:2:258. 

Arid Land Bill, 40:1:64. 

Ash Hollow, 40:1:12. 

Atlantic City, 40:2:224, 225, 252, 

"Atlantic City," by Mrs. Lyle Maer- 
er and Jim Carpenter, 40:1:116- 

Atlantic lode, 40:2:229, 234. 

Augur, Gen. C. C. 40:1:121; 40:2: 

Austin City lode, 40:2:228, 231, 

Autan, Tom, 40:1:119. 

Ayleshire, Lt. Joe, 40:2:245. 


Bailey, Robert, 40:1:42, 43. 
Baker, Will, 40:2:183, 184. 
Baker's General Merchandise Store, 

Baldwin, James, 40:1:117. 
Baldwin, Major Noyes, 40: 1 : 120. 
Baldwin Store, 40:1:120. 
Ball, John, 40:1:25. 
Bannack (Bannock) Indians, 40:2: 

272, 273. 
Barnaba lode, 40:2:228, 233. 

Barnhart, William R., review of 
Che\enne Memories, 40:1:142- 

Barrett, Francis A., review of Doc- 
tors of the Old West, 40:1:143- 

Barrett. W. A., 40:1:119. 

Bartlett, Lt.. 40:2:180, 181. 

Bartlett, I. S., 40:1:62. 

Bartlett, Mrs. 1. S., 40:1:62, 66. 

Bartlett's West: Drawing the Mexi- 
can Boundary, by Robert V. Hine, 
review, 40:2:288-289. 

Battey, Marion W.. 40:2:199, 210. 

Bealey, Rosalind, 40:1:107. 

Bear River Mountains, 40:2:269, 
271. 272. 

Beauvais, G. P., 40:1:16. 

Beck, George T„ 40:1:73-105; 40:2: 

Beck Mining Company, 40:1:99. 

Beck Refining Company, 40:1:101. 

Beckton, 40:2:255. 

Beer Garden Gulch, 40:1:117. 

Beers. Robert, 40:2:180. 

Belshaw, Mrs. Maria A., 40:1:38; 
40:2:204, 205. 

Benham. Alexander, 40:1:110. 

Bennet Line lode, 40:2:229, 236. 

Bennett, B. W., 40:1:95. 

Bennett, Edwin Lewis and Agnes 
Wright Spring, Boom Town Boy, 
review, 40:2:291-292. 

Bidwell, John, 40:2:207, 216. 

Big Sandy, 40:2:270. 

Bill Nye's Western Humor, by T. A. 
Larson, review, 40:2:287-288. 

Bleistein, George, 40:1:78, 82, 100. 

Blickensderfer, Mr., 40:2:164. 

Boal, Cody, Mr. and Mrs., 40:2: 

Boan, Fran, 40:1:107. 

Boardman, John, 40:1:26. 

Boar's Tusk, 40:1:112. 

Bond, Fred, 40:1:79, 80. 

Bonneville, Capt. Benjamin L. E., 

Bonneville Cabins, 40:1:120. 

Boom Town Boy, by Edwin Lewis 
Bennett and Agnes Wright Spring, 
review, 40:2:291-292. 

Borup, Mr., 40:2:244. 

"Boss" Tweed's Red Canyon Stage 
Station, 40:1:120. 



Bostonians and Bullion: The Journal 

of Robert Livermore, 1892-1915, 

by Gene Gressley, review, 40:2: 

Bozeman (Yellowstone) Route, 40: 

Bozeman Trail, The, by E. A. Brin- 

instool and G. R. Hebard, 40:1: 

51, 54. 
Bozeman's Ranch (Bozeman City), 

Bramel, C. W., 40:1:68. 
Breitenstein, Henry, 40:1:58, 59, 

62, 67, 69. 
Bridger cut off, 40:2:267. 
Brininstool, E. A., 40:1:51, 52, 54. 
Brown, Col. Frederick, 40:1:121. 
Brown, William, 40:1:70. 
Bryant, Edwin, 40:2:198, 214. 
Buckeye State lode, 40:2:229, 234. 
Buffalo Bill. See William F. Cody. 
Building the Town of Codv: George 

T. Beck, 1894-1943, by James D. 

McLaird, 40:1:73-105. 
Burt, Elizabeth, 40:2:167. 

Calhoun lode, 40:2:229, 233. 

Calvert. Mr., 40:1:88. 

Camp Carling (Carlin), 40:2:175, 
182, 183. 

Camp Magraw. See Fort Thomp- 

Cardoso, Manuel Felipe. See Phil- 
lips, John "Portugee". 

Carey, Joseph, 40:1:66. 

Carey Act, 40:1:74, 75, 76. 

Cariboo lode, 40:2:229. 

Cariso lode, 40:2:227, 228, 230, 

Carley, Maurine, 40:1:107. 

Carling, Bvt. Lt. Col. E. B., 40:2: 
175, 182. 

Carpenter, Ellen, 40:1:116-118. 

Carpenter, Jim, 40:1:116, 118; "At- 
lantic City," 116-118. 

Carpenter Hotel, 40:1:116. 

Carrington, Frances Courtney Grum- 
mond, 40:1:50, 51. 

Carrington, Col. Henry B., 40:1:43, 
44, 45, 50, 53. 

Carroll, Bill, 40:2:260, 261. 

Chalmers, Robert, 40:1:37; 40:2: 
215, 220. 

Chand'less, William, 40:1:32, 33; 
40:2:206, 208. 

Chapman, W. W., 40:1:26; 40:2: 

Cheyenne, 40:2:163, 164, 176, 177, 
178, 179. 

Cheyenne Depot, 40:2:175, 176. 

Cheyenne Memories, by John Stands 
In Timber and Margot Liberty, 
review, 40:1:142-143. 

Chimney Rock, 40:1:14; 40:2:252, 

Chinook lode, 40:2:229, 233. 

"Choke Cherry Bill," 40:2:258. 

Chope, Mr., 40:1:17. 

Chope, E., 40:1:17. 

Chugwater Creek, 40:1:48. 

Clark, Gibson, 40:1:65. 

Clarke. William H., 40:1:71. 

Clay, Henry, 40:1:31-32. 

Cody, William F., 40:1:73-105. 

Cody Oil and Development Com- 
pany, 40:1:99, 100. 

Cody Training Company. 40:1:82. 

Cody, 40:1:73-105. 

Coffeen, Henry, 40:1:65. 

Collins & Co. Stamp mill, 40:2:257. 

Constant, Alex, 40:1:114. 

Continental Divide, 40:1:111. 

Conyers, Enoch, 40:2:203. 

Cook, "Capt." James, 40:1:53. 

Cook, Joe, "Red Canyon Stage Sta- 
tion," 40:1:119-120. 

Cook, Rev. Joseph, 40:2:166, 178, 

Cory, Dr. Benjamin, 40:2:206, 217. 

Court House Rock, 40:1:14; 40:2: 
252, photo. 

Coutant, C. G., 40:1:51. 

Cover of Folder Published To Pro- 
mote The Settlement of The Town 
of Cody, 40:1:72, photo. 

Coxey Army Movement, 40:1:67. 

Crocker, Mr., 40:1:31. 

Crosby, Jesse W., 40:2:219. 

Crow Creek, 40:2:165, 166, 169, 
170, 171, 190. 

Crow Creek Valley. 40:2:164. 

Crow Indians, 40:2:277, 278. 

Crow Indian Reservation, 40:2:241. 

Custer, Gen. George, 40:2:245; 
Custer Battle Ground, 245. 

Dana, Mr. and Mrs., 40:2:244; Ed, 

244; Newton, 244; Hattie, 245. 
Dana, T. R., 40:2:264. 
Davis, Mr., 40:2:220. 



"The Days That Are No More . . .," 

40:1:72, photo. 
Dayton, 40:2:253, 263. 
De Maris Spring, 40:1:98, 99. 
Deal, Oscar, 40:1:107, 116, 122. 
Dean, Strautler, 40:1:65. 
DeBarthe. Joseph, 40:1:62. 
DeSmet, Father, 40:1:29, 32. 
Devil's Gate, 40:1:23-40; photo, 

Diamonds In the Salt, by Bruce A. 

Woodard, review, 40:1:148-149. 
Dickinson, Norman, "South Pass 

City," 40:1:115-116. 
Dietz, Gottfried, America's Political 

Dilemma, review, 40:2:292. 
Dixon, Daniel, 40:1:45, 48. 
Doctors of the Old West, by Robert 

F. Karolevitz, review, 40:1: 143- 

Dodge, Gen. Grenville M., 40:2: 

Dollar, Clyde D., review of Fire- 
arms, Traps & Tools of the Moun- 
tain Men, 40:1:141-142. 
Donnelly, Joseph P., S. J., translator 
and editor of Wilderness Kingdom. 

The Journals and Paintings of 

Father Nicholas Point, review, 

Douglass, Dick (Franklin), 40:2: 

Dubois, William R. (Bill), 40:1:107, 

review of Our Heritage, 40: 1 : 147- 

Duncan lode, 40:2:233. 
Duncan Mine and Mill, 40:1:117. 
Dunlap, Smith, 40:2:216. 
Durrah, Hudson W., 40:1:98. 
"Dutch John," freighter, 40:2:243, 

"Dutch John," herder, 40:2:256. 

Emigrant Gulch, 40:2:277. 278. 
Emmons, David M., review of The 

Splendid Pauper, 40:2:284-285. 
Enos, James E.. 40:2:195. 
Erland, Widow. 40:2:270, 271. 
Esperson, Peter. 40:1:70. 

Eagle Rock Ferry. See Snake River 

East Bannack Road, 40:2:273. 
Edwards, Paul M., review of The 

American West: A Reorientation, 

Eells, Myra, 40:1:35. 
Egan, Capt. James, 40:2:182. 
Eklund, Dick, 40:1:107, 108, 122. 
Elkhorn Stamp mill, 40:2:237. 
Elliott, D. H., 40:1:85. 

Farlow, Jules, 40:1:107, 116, 122. 
Ferguson, Charles, 40:2:200, 208. 
Ferris, Mathias, 40:1:6. 
Fetterman, Capt. William J., 40:1: 

Field, Matthew C, 40:1:24, 27, 30. 
Fighting Indian Warriors, by E. A. 

Brininstool, 40:1:52, 54. 
Filler, Louise, intro. and commen- 
tary of Old Wolfville, Chapters 

from the Fiction of Alfred Henry 

Lewis, review, 40:2:292. 
Finn, Col. Charles, 40:2:185. 
Firearms, Traps & Tools of the 

Mounatin Men, review, by Carl P. 

Russell, 40:1:141-142. 
First National Bank of Cody, 40:1: 

Fitzgerald, Patrick, 40:2:182, 183. 
Fitzpatrick, Thomas, 40:1:31; 40:2: 

207, 209. 
Flick, George, 40:1:109, 110. 
Flint, Thomas, 40:2:197, 201. 
Florin, Lambert, Tales the Western 

Tombstones Tell, review, 40:1: 

Flynn, Shirley E., Our Heritage, re- 
view, 40:1:147-148. 
Foots, Donald, 40:1:118. 
Force, James, 40:2:197. 
Forman, Ellen, 40:1:5. 
Forman, George, 40:1:5-21. 
Forman, Rev. J. G., 40:1:5. 
Forman, James, 40:1:5. 
Forman Family, 1864, 40:1:40, 


Augur, 40:1:121-122. See Fort 
Brown and Fort Washakie. 

Brown, 40:1:121-122. See Camp 
Augur and Fort Washakie. 

Custer, 40:2:244. 

D. A. Russell, 40:2:188, photos. 

Hall, 40:1:31. 

Halleck, 40:2:269. 

Laramie, 40:1:16; 40:2:196. 

Snider (Snyder), 40:2:269, fn. 



Stambaugh, 40:1:118-119. 
Thompson, 40:1:120-121. 
Washakie, 40:1:121-122. See 
Camp Augur and Fort Brown. 

Fort David A. Russell: a Study of Its 
History from 1867 to 1890. With 
a Brief Summary of Events from 
1890 to the Present, by Peggy 
Dickey Kircus, 40:2:161-192. 

Fort Hall Road, 40:2:272. 

"Fort Stambaugh", by William Mar- 
ion, 40:1:118-119. 

Fort Washakie Indian Cemetery, 40: 
1:72, photo. 

Fort Washakie school, 40:1:124. 

Forty Mile Ranch, 40:2:246. 

Fourteenth Annual Meeting, 40:1: 

Frear, James, 40:2:198. 

Fourteenth Infantry, Co. B, 40:2: 

Free Lance [newspaper] 40:1:62. 

Fremont, Col. John Charles, 40:1: 
23, 25, 26, 27, 32. 

Fuller, John, 40:2:216. 

Fulmer, Harry, 40:2:257. 

Gage, Jack R., The Johnson County 
War, review, 40:1:145-146. 

Gallatin Fork, 40:2:275. 

Galliver, E. Luella, 40:1:5. 

Gard, Wayne, The Great Buffalo 
Hunt, review, 40:2:292. 

Garden City lode, 40:2:228, 232. 

Gaylord, Orange, 40:2:220. 

Geer, Mrs. E. D. S., 40:2:216. 

George T. Beck In Front of His Of- 
fice Where the First Cody Club 
Was Organized, 40:1:72, photo. 

Gaensslen, Helen, 40:1:107. 

Gerrans, H. M., 40:1:78, 82, 83, 

Giesler General Store, 40:1:117. 

Gillis, Capt., 40:2:176. 

Gillis Hose Company, 40:2:176. 

Gladiator lode, 40:2:231. 

Gold-hunter lode, 40:2:229, 233. 

Golden Gate lode, 40:2:228, 232. 

Golden Leaf lode, 40:2:235. 

Gordon, Brig. Gen. David S., 40:1: 

Gould, Lewis L., Wyoming. A Po- 
litical History, 1868-1896, review, 

Government Day School. See Fort 
Washakie School. 

Granier, Emile, 40:1:117. 

The Great Buffalo Hunt, by Wayne 
Gard, review, 40:2:292. 

Great Divide Basin, 40:1:111, 112, 

Grecian Bend lode, 40:2:231. 

Green River, 40:2:270, 271. 

Gressley, Gene M., The American 
West: A Reorientation, 40:1:139; 
Bostonians and Bullion: The Jour- 
nal of Robert Livermore, 1892- 
1915, review, 40:2:283-284. 

Griffiths, David B., Populism In 
Wyoming, 40:1:57-71; biog., 154. 

Grimes, George, 40:1:42. 

Grizzly Canyon, 40:2:277, 278. 

Gustafason, Martha Harsh, 40:1: 


Hadley, Mrs. E. A., 40:1:26. 
Hall, Robert H., 40:1:119. 
Hamilton, 40:2:224. 
Halter, William, 40:1:109, 110. 
Halverson, Katherine, review of The 

Johnson County War, 40:1:145- 

Hardin, George, 40:2:181. 
Harris, Mr. and Mrs., 40:2:250, 

Harsh, Philip, 40:1:117. 
Hart, Capt., 40:2:182. 
Hart, Herbert M., Pioneer Forts of 

the Old West, review, 40:1:149- 

Harvey, Charles, 40:2:247, 248, 

249, 251. 
Hastings, Mr., 40:1:31. 
Heald, Henry, blacksmith shop, 40: 

Hearst, Mrs. Phoebe, 40:1:82. 
Hebard, Dr. Grace Raymond, 40:1: 

51, 52, 54. 
Heenan, Mike, 40:1:118. 
Henderson, Paul, 40:2:194. 
Hermit Mill, 40:2:230, 237. 
Highland City, 40:2:280. 
Hinckley, John T., review of Wyo- 
ming. A Political History, 1868- 

1896, 40:2:286-287. 
Hine, Robert V., Bartlett's West: 

Drawing the Mexican Boundary, 




Hines, Celinda E., 40:2:179. 
Hobbs, Clyde W., "Welcome to the 

Wind River Reservation," 40:1: 

House, J. E., 40:2:176, 177. 
Houston, Jane, 40:1:107. 
Huff Hotel, 40:1:117. 
Husky Refining Company, 40:1: 

Hyde, George E., A Life of George 

Bent, Written From His Letters, 

review, 40:1:140-141. 
Hyde's Hall, 40:1:117. 

Johnston, William G., 40:2:205, 

208, 209, 212, 216. 
Jones. C. B., 40:1:85. 
Judson, Mr., 40:2:200. 
Judson, Phoebe G., 40:1:28, 33, 34; 

Julesburg, Colo., 40:2:164. 
Julian lode, 40:2:229, 234. 
Junction City, 40:2:241. 
Junction Ranch, 40:1:114. 

Independence Rock, 40:1:23-40; 40, 

photo; 40:2:269. 
Independence Rock and Devil's 
Gate, by Robert L. Munkres, 40: 

Lean Bear, 40:1:11. 
Sacajawea, 40:1:123. 
Washakie, 40:1:123, 124. 

Crow, 40:1:37, 38. 
Pawnees, 40:1:12. 
Sioux, 40:2:269. 
Irma Hotel, 40:1:82. 
Irons, Maj. J. A., 40:2:188. 
Irving, Sam, 40:2:275, 276, 277; 

Company, 280. 
Ivins, Virginia W., 40:1:26, 33. 

"Jack Morrow," by George Ste- 
phens, 40:1:113-115. 

Jackson, William H, 40:1:35, 36. 

Jackson County Republican Com- 
mittee, 40:1:62. 

John H. Conrad & Co., 40:2:255. 

The John "Portugee" Phillips Leg- 
ends, A Study In Wyoming Folk- 
lore, by Robert A. Murray, 40:1: 

John Stands In Timber, Cheyenne 
Memories, review, 40:1:142-143. 

The Johnson County War, by Jack 
R. Gage, review, 40:1:145-146. 

Johnson County War, 40:1:60, 61, 

Johnston, Clarence T., 40:1:81. 

Kale, Sgt., 40:2:180. 

Karolevitz. Robert F., Doctors of 

the Old West, review, 40:1: MS- 
Kearney, Gen. Stephen Watts, 40: 

Kearney City, Nebr., 40:1:8. 
Kearns, John T., 40:1:38. 
Keil, William, 40:1:28. 
Keller, George, 40:1:27, 29; 40:2: 

Kelly, Mrs. Fannie, 40:1:19. 
Kendrick, J. B., 40:2:257. 
Kennedy, Jack, 40:2:251. 
Kidder and Mason Stamp mill, 40: 

Kilpatrick Brothers, 40:2:257. 
Kindler, David L., review of Bill 

Nye's Western Humor, 40:2:287- 

King Solomon lode, 40:2:228, 232. 
Kingsbury, Dudley A., 40:1:65, 66. 
Kircus, Peggy Dickey, Fort David 

A. Russell: a Study of Its History 

From 1867 to 1890. With a Brief 

Summary of Events from 1890 to 

the Present, 40:2:161-192; biog., 


Lander, Col. F. W., 40:2:271 fn. 

Lander, 40:1:120-122. 

Lander Cut Off, 40:2:269, 270. 

Lane, Dr. Frances, 40:1:91. 

Larimer, Mrs. Sarah L., 40:1:19. 

Larson, T. A., ed., Across The 
Plains In 1864 With George For- 
man, 40:1:5-21; conclusion, 40: 
2:267-281; biog., 40:2:282; Bill 
Nye's Western Humor, review, 



Leach, Tom, 40:1:107. 

Lee, Jason, 40:2:219. 

Leeper, David R., 40:1:28, 34. 

Lester, Charles, 40:2:184, 186, 189. 

Liberty, Margot, Cheyenne Memor- 
ies, review, 40:1:142-143. 

Little Sandy, 40:2:270. 

A Life of George Bent, Written 
From His Letters, review, by 
George E. Hyde, 40:1:140-141. 

Lincoln Land Company, 40:1:88, 

Little Big Horn, 40:1:119. 

Little Box Elder Canyon, 40:1:48. 

Little Horn River, 40:2:247; Valley, 

Lockhart, Caroline, 40:1:89, 90. 

Lone Star lode, 40:2:235. 

Loose, Dennis, review of Pioneer 
Forts of the Old West, 40:1:149- 

Lovejoy, Mr., 40:1:31. 

Lowe, Frank, 40:1:120, 121. 

Lower Platte Bridge, 40:2:267. 


McAllister, Rev. John, 40:2:220. 

McAuley's store. See Hyde's Hall. 

McDermott, John Dishon, review of 
Bostonians and Bullion: The Jour- 
nal of Robert Livermore, 1892- 
1915, 40:2:283-284. 

McDonald, Donald A., 40:1:16, 18. 

McDonell, Mr., 40:1:16. 

McFie, Jean Harsh, 40:1:117. 

McGlashen, John, 40:2:215, 220. 

McKee, Jim, 40:1:109. 

McKinley, William, 40:1:70. 

McLaird, James D., Building The 
Town of Cody: George T. Beck, 
1894-1943, 40:1:73-105; biog., 

Marion, William, "Fort Stambaugh," 

Markley, Charles, 'The Shoshone 
Indian Episcopalian Mission," 40: 

Mary Ellen, (Perkins's) lode, 40:2: 
229, 233. 

Mason, James, 40:2:220. 

Mattison, Ray, review of Diamonds 
in the Salt, 40:1:148-149. 

May, Richard M., 40:2:219. 

Mead, Elwood, 40:1:76, 77. 

Merrell, Thomas, 40:2:279. 

Merritt, H. D., 40:1:59. 

Metcalf, Mary E., 40:1:71. 

Miller, Neal E., review of Wilder- 
ness Kingdom. The Journals and 
Paintings of Father Nicholas 
Point, 40:2:291. 

Miner's Delight lode, 40:2:229, 230, 
235; Stamp mill, 237. 

Mondell, Cong. Frank, 40:1:50. 

Montana lode, 40:2:229, 234. 

Morill, Charles, 40:1:88. 

Morris, Esther Hobart, 40:1:115. 

Morrison, R. D., 40:2:182, 183. 

Morrow, Jack, 40:1:113-115. 

Morrow Ranch, 40:1:10. 

Munkres, Robert L., Independence 
Rock and Devil's Gate, 40:1:23- 
40; The Plains Indian Threat On 
the Oregon Trail Before 1860, 
40:2:193-221; biog., 40:1:154, 

Murray, Robert A., The John "Por- 
tugee" Phillips Legends, A Study 
In Wyoming Folklore, 40:1:41- 
56;; biog., 154; review of A Life 
of George Bent, Written From 
His Letters, 40:1:140-141. 

Murray, Thomas, 40:2:183. 

Myer, Nathaniee, 40:2:210. 

Myers, Pvt., 40:2:173. 



Madden, Jim, 40:2:252. 

Madison Fork, 40:2:275. 

Maerer, Mrs. Lyle, "Atlantic City, v 

Mammoth Co. Stamp mill, 40:2: 

Mammoth lode, 40:2:229, 235. 

Nasatir, Abraham P., Spanish War 

Vessels on the Mississippi, review, 

Nellie Morgan lode, 40:2:228, 232. 
Nevada City, Mont., 40:2:273. 
Newby, William Thompson, 40:2: 

Nichols, Melvin, 40:1:71. 
Nickerson, Capt. H. G., 40:1:118, 




1967 Trekkers At Point of Rocks, 

40:1:72, photo. 
Northern Wyoming Farmers' and 

Stock Growers' Association, 40:1: 

60, 61. 


0-4 Ranch. 40:2:257, 258, 261. 
O.Z. Ranch, 40:2:257, 258, 261. 
Ohlman Stage Station, 40:2:252. 
"Old Jeff," 40:2:246. 
Old Wolfville, Chapters from the 

Fiction of Alfred Henry Lewis, 

intro. and commentary by Louise 

Filler, review, 40:2:292. 
O'Neill, O. H., 40:1:27, 28. 
Oregon Trail, 40:1:23. 
Osborne, John, 40:1:65, 66. 
Ostrander, Alson B., 40:1:52. 
Our Heritage, by Shirley E. Flynn, 

review, 40:1:147-148. 

Platte [river] 40:1:9. 

Platte River Bridge, 40:2:195. 

Plutus lode, 40:2:228, 233. 

"Point of Rocks Stage Station," by 
Rae Dell Varley, 40:1:108-111. 

Point of Rocks-South Pass City 
Freight Road Trek. 40:1:107-127. 

Pole Mountain, 40:2:188. 

Populism In Wyoming, by David B. 
Griffiths, 40:1:57-71. 

Populists Clubs. See Wyoming Pop- 

Pratt, Orson, 40:2:204. 

"Presidents Message," by Adrian 
Reynolds, 40:1:128-129. 

Pringle, Virgil, 40:2:204, 219. 

Pullman strike, 40:1:67. 

Push Root. See Lander, Wyoming. 

Quaker Aspen Hut Crossing. 
Atlantic City. 


P.K. Ranch, 40:2:257, 258. 

Palmer, Col. I. N., 40:1:46, 47. 

Palmer, Joel, 40:1:26, 28, 30; 40:2: 

The Pantarch. A Biography of Ste- 
phen Pearl Andrews, by Madeline 
B. Stern, review, 40:2:292. 

Pardees, Lt., 40:2:173. 

Parker, Samual, 40:2:205, 219. 

Parrish, Rev. Edward, 40:2:214, 

Pass Creek Stage Station, (ranch), 

Past Presidents, Wyoming State His- 
torical Society, 40:1:72, photo. 

Patterson, John W., 40:1:69, 70. 

Peck, John P., 40:1:7. 

Peck, Margaret, review of Boom 
Town Boy, 40:2:291-292. 

Phillips, Mrs. Hattie, 40:1:50. 

Phillips, John "Portugee," 40:1:41- 

A Picture Report of the Custer 
Fight, by William Reusswig, re- 
view, 40:1:153-154. 

Pioneer Forts of the Old West, by 
Herbert M. Hart, review, 40:1: 

Plains Indian Threat On The Oregon 
Trail Before 1860, by Robert L. 
Munkres, 40:2:193-221. 


Rador, Charles, 40:1:109; Mrs., 

Rawlins, Gen. John A., 40:2:164. 
Raymond, Rossiter W., Statistics of 

Mines and Mining In The States 

and Territories West of the Rocky 

Mountains, 40:2:223-239. 
Reading, Pierson Barton, 40:2:218. 
"Red Canyon Stage Station," by Joe 

Cook, 40:1:119-120. 
Reform, The [newspaper] 40:1:62. 
Regan, Lt. James, 40:2:174. 
Reusswig, William, A Picture Report 

of the Custer Fight, review, 40:1: 

Reynolds, Adrian, 40:1:107, 108; 

President's Message, 128, 129. 
Reynolds, Pete, 40:2:247, 251, 254. 
Rhodes, Joseph, 40:2:216. 220. 
Rich & Co. Stamp mill, 40:2:237. 
Roberts, Dr. John, 40:1:123, 124. 
Roberts Mission. See Shoshone 

Robinson, Billy, 40:2:256. 
Robinson, Maj., 40:2:182. 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 40: 

Rocky Mountain Mining Camps. 

The Urban Frontier, by Duane A. 

Smith, review, 40:1:146-147. 



Rock Springs coal beds, 40:1:113. 

Rock Springs Uplift, 40:1:112. 

Rogers, Harold, "Story of Lander," 

Rumsey, Bronson, 40:1:78, 82, 84, 

Russell, Carl P., Firearms, Traps & 
Tools of the Mountain Men, re- 
view, 40:1:141-142. 

Russell, Maj. David A., 40:2:165. 

Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, 

St. Lawrence lode, 40:2:235. 

Salsbury, Nate, 40:1:78, 92. 

"Sand Dunes," by Grant Willson, 

Sawyer, Clifford J., 40:1:71. 

Schwind, John, 40:2:241, 245, 250, 

Scotts Bluff, 40:2:252, photo. 

Scratch lode, 40:2:232. 

Sealy, Shakespeare E., 40:1:62, 67. 

Second Cavalry, 40:2:171, 172. 

Sharp, Cornelia, 40:2:218, 220. 

Shay, William J., review of A Pic- 
ture Report of the Custer Fight, 

Shedd, Frankie, 40:1:34. 

Shoshone Electric Light and Power 
Co., 40:1:94. 

"Shoshone Indian Episcopalian Mis- 
sion, The," by Charles Markley, 

Shoshone [mining] district, 40:2: 

Shoshone Mission. See Shoshone 
Indian Episcopalian Mission. 

Silas Wright lode, 40:2:235. 

Silverlok, Charley, 40:2:247. 

Simplot, Ella. See Mrs. Frank 

Sloan's Lake, 40:2:190. 

Smith, Atley, 40:2:256. 

Smith, Bill, 40:2:250, 252. 

Smith, Bobby, 40:1:118. 

Smith, Duane A., Rocky Mountain 
Mining Camps. The Urban Fron- 
tier, review, 40:1:146-147. 

Smith, Jim, 40:2:252. 

Smith, Tom, 40:1:118. 

Snake River, 40:2:272. 

Snake River (Camas) Desert, 40:2: 

Snake River Ferry, 40:2:272. 

Snider, Elias, U., 40:1:65. 

Snow, William, 40:2:220. 

Snyder, Jacob, 40:2:210, 217; James 
A., 40:2:271. 

Sod Walls (The Story of the Nebras- 
ka Sod House), by Roger Welsch, 
review, 40:2:290. 

Soles and Perkins lode, 40:2:229, 
231, 233. 

Sorenson, Daisy, 40:1:96. 

South Pass, 40:1:5; 40:2:269. 

South Pass City, 40:2:223, 224, 225, 

"South Pass City," by Norman Dick- 
inson, 40:1:115-116. 

Spanish War Vessels on the Missis- 
sippi, 1792-1796, by Abraham P. 
Nasatir, review, 40:1:151-152. 

The Splendid Pauper, by Allen An- 
drews, review, 40:2:284-285. 

Sprague, Marshall, review of Bart- 
lett's West: Drawing the Mexican 
Boundary, 40:2:288-289. 

Spring, Agnes Wright, review of 
Rocky Mountain Mining Camps. 
The Urban Frontier, 40:1:146- 
147; and Edwin Lewis Bennett, 
Boom Town Boy, review, 40:2: 

Stambaugh, Lt. Charles B., 40:1: 

Standifer, Jefferson, 40:1:42, 48. 

Stansbury, Capt. Howard, 40:1:25, 

Star Valley, 40:2:272. 

Statistics of Mines and Mining in the 
States and Territories West of the 
Rocky Mountains, by Rossiter W. 
Raymond, 40:2:223-239. 

Steamboat Mountain, 40:1:112. 

Stephens, George, 40:1:107, 108; 
"Jack Morrow," 113-115. 

Stern, Madeline B., The Pantarch. 
A Biography of Stephen Pearl 
Andrews, review, 40:2:292. 

Stephenson, Bvt. Brig. Gen. T. D., 
(John) 40:2:165, 167, 170, 177, 

Stewart, Capt., 40:2:209. 

Stimson, Francher, 40:2:220. 

Stoaks, Jim, 40:2:216. 

Stock Association of Laramie Coun- 
ty. See Wyoming Stock Growers 

Stockade Creek, 40:2:249. 

"Story of Lander," by Harold Rog- 
ers, 40:1:120-122. 

Sulphur Mining and Milling Com- 
pany, 40:1:102. 

Sun Dance grounds, 40:1:123, 124. 



Sundance Republican. See The Re- 

Sublette, Milton, 40:1:30; William, 
40:1:23, 24, 30. 

Sutton, Sarah, 40:1:29, 35, 38, 39; 
40:2:196, 218. 

Sweetwater, mining district, 40:2: 

Sweetwater (mountains), 40:2:269. 

Sweetwater Valley, 40:1:24. 

Swiss lode, 40:2:229. 

Van Buren, Martin, 40:1:31-32. 
Van Vost, Maj. J., 40:2:180, 181. 
Varley, Ed, 40:1:107, 108; Rae 

Dell. 40:1:107; "Point of Rocks 

Stage Station," 108-111. 
Virginia City, Mont., 40:2:273, 278, 

279, 280. 

Taggert, Lawrence, 40:1:109. 

Talbot, Theodore, 40:1:27, 29, 31. 

Tales the Western Tombstones Tell, 
by Lambert Florin, review, 40:1: 

Taylor, William, 40:1:65. 

Thirtieth Infantry, 40:2:170. 

Thissel, G. W., 40:2:203, 215. 

Thompson, James M., 40:1:109. 

Thornton, J. Quinn, 40:1:26, 39; 

Thorpe, Elizabeth J., review of 
Tales the Western Tombstones 
Tell, 40:1:150-151. 

Three Buttes, 40:2:272. 

Three Forks of Missouri, 40:2:273, 

Three Tetons, 40:2:272. 

Tidball, Lewis Cass, 40:1:65, 66, 68. 

Tinkom, Dallas, 40:1:95. 

Townsend, H. M. "Doc", 40:1:107. 

Trimble, Mr., 40:2:203. 

Trout Creek, 40:1:125. 

Tschirgi, Bessie V., 40:2:265; Eve- 
lyn, 266; Frank, Why a Pioneer?, 
241-266; Mrs. Frank, 261, 264, 
265; Frank Horace, 265; Dr. Har- 
vey, 241; Harvey Simplot, 265; 
John, 241, 243, 245, 249, 250, 
251, 256, 262, 263; Maurine K., 

Tweed, William, 40:1:115, 119. 

Twenty-third Infantry, 40:2:173. 


Union Pacific Railroad, 40:167. 
Union Pacific Railroad Company, 

Upper Platte Bridge, 40:2:267. 


Walker, Henry P., review of Spanish 
War Vessels on the Mississippi, 
1792-1796, 40:1:151-152. 

Walker, Mary Richardson, 40:1:25; 

Wallenberg, Galen, 40:1:87. 

Wallop, Oliver, 40:2:252. 

Warren, Sen. Francis E., 40:1:50; 
63, 64, 66. 

Warren Livestock Co., 40:1:67. 

Washington lode, 40:2:228, 231. 

Waters, Lydia Milner, 40:1:36; 40: 
2:195, 215,218. 

Weaver, James B., 40:1:63. 

"Welcome to the Wind River Reser- 
vation," by Clyde W. Hobbs, 40: 

Welsch, Roger, Sod Walls (The Story 
of the Nebraska Sod House), re- 
view, 40:2:290. 

Wheeler, Hall & Jeffers stamp mill, 

White, Dr., 40:1:31. 

Whittenburg, Clarice, review of Sod 
Walls (The Story of the Nebraska 
Sod House), 40:2:290. 

Why a Pioneer?, by Frank Tschirgi, 

Wilderness Kingdom. The Journals 
and Paintings of Father Nicholas 
Point, translated and introduced 
by Joseph P. Donnelly, S.J., re- 
view, 40:2:291. 

Williams, Henry (Hank), 40:2:257 

Williams, Joseph, 40:2:207. 

Williams, Mrs. Velina, 40:2:206, 

Williams, Ranch, 40:1:11. 

Willson, Grant, 40:1:107; "Sand 
Dunes," 111-113. 

Wind River [town] , 40: 1 : 123. 

Wind River Indian Agency, 40:1: 
122, 123. 

Wind River Mountains, 40:2:269. 

Wind River Range, 40:1:125. 



Wind River Reservation, 40:1:122- 

Wood, John, 40:1 : 29, 36, 37 

Woodard, Bruce A., Diamonds in 
the Salt, review, 40:1:148-149 

Worldbeater lode, 40:2:236. 

Wyeth, Nathaniel, 40:1:30. 

Wyoming. A Political History, 
1868-1896, by Lewis L. Gould, 
review, 40:2:286-287. 

Wyoming Basin, 40:1:111, 112, 113. 

Wyoming Farmers' Alliance, 40:1: 

Wyoming Populists, 40:1:58-71. 

Wyoming Stock Growers' Associa- 
tion, 40:1:57, 71. 

Yellowstone River, 40:2:277. 
Yellowstone Route. See Bozeman 

Young America lode, 40:2:228, 231; 

stamp mill, 237. 
Young, Lorenzo Dow, 40:2:219. 

Zachery, Mr., 40:2:250. 
Zanoni, Mike, 40:1:110. 


The Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department has as its func- 
tion the collection and preservation of the record of the people of Wyoming. 
It maintains a historical library, a museum and the state archives. 

The aid of the citizens of Wyoming is solicited in the carrying out of its 
function. The Department is anxious to secure and preserve records and 
materials now in private hands where they cannot be long preserved. Such 
records and materials include: 

Biographical materials of pioneers: diaries, letters, account books, auto- 
biographical accounts. 

Business records of industries of the State: livestock, mining, agriculture, 
railroads, manufacturers, merchants, small business establishments, and of 
professional men as bankers, lawyers, physicians, dentists, ministers, and 

Private records of individual citizens, such as correspondence, manuscript 
materials and scrapbooks. 

Records of organizations active in the religious, educational, social, 
economic and political life of the State, including their publications such 
as yearbooks and reports. 

Manuscript and printed articles on towns, counties, and any significant 
topic dealing with the history of the State. 

Early newspapers, maps, pictures, pamphlets, and books on western 

Current publications by individuals or organizations throughout the 

Museum materials with historical significance: early equipment, Indian 
artifacts, relics dealing with the activities of persons in Wyoming and with 
special events in the State's history.